The first phase of Thomas Himmel’s redesign of Freiburger Golfclub in the southwest of Germany is now complete.
The work was required following a decision by local water authorities to remove two holes from play.
“The course is located within a grade two water protection area and two holes are within a grade one central area, which is the highest grade in Germany, with the city of Freiburg collecting drinking water from it,” said Himmel. “These two holes were more or less tolerated for the last 25 years.”
In 2017, the water authorities and supply company decided that the two holes had to be removed, prompting the club to rent another plot of land adjoining the course to build replacement holes. “The permission of these two holes took a while because the area is a landscape protection area,” said Himmel.
“Due to the removal of the existing holes, the course had to be rerouted and modified in some parts. The renovation of the old greens had always been an issue and a plan for the club because the old push-up greens were very susceptible to diseases. Combined with an extremely restricted use of pesticides due to the water protection issues, a renovation – that was combined with a redesign – was necessary.”
“The course itself has a lot of character with old single specimen trees combined with little forest areas, tree groups and three streams crossing the property,” said Himmel. “The new greens, compared to the small, flat old ones, are more visible, larger in size and, with pin positions in mind, designed into small sections.
“The approach shots are still quite playable. The reward lies in hitting the correct area on the green. which itself becomes a kind of hazard.
There are only 10 greenside bunkers for nine greens. “Due to the parkland character, the course does not need excessive bunkering,” continued Himmel.
“The three redesigned par-three holes in this phase turned out to be very nice and very variable to each other with nice wooded backdrops.
“All in all, the project looks more like a deeper facelift than an aggressive and visual redesign. The main natural features of the course speak for themselves with the new greens blended in – nonetheless the redesign is quite noticeable with visual and golfing enhancement.”
Construction company Josef Pötter Golf, with Mark Turner as the shaper, started work on the first phase in July 2019 and finished ahead of schedule, allowing the new greens to open in May 2020. Golfers will be able to play 18 holes until July 2020, when work on the second nine will begin, with a view to completion in September 2020.