Infinite Variety Golf Design has continued to make progress with restoration work on the Falkenstein layout at Hamburger Golf Club, widely recognised as Germany’s top course.
Falkenstein was designed by Colt, Alison & Morrison in 1928 and has since only been tweaked a little – by German architect Bernhard von Limburger in the 1960s.
IVGD was chosen as consultant architect in 2015, in part thanks to its knowledge of ‘Colt school’ architecture, and is overseeing renovations to restore original characteristics and features that had been lost over time.
Having authored a long-term course plan, IVGD’s Frank Pont and Hendrik Hilgert started the first phase of work in 2016 by revising the mowing lines and working with head greenkeeper Gareth Bremner and his team to return greens to their original shapes and sizes. Closely-mown areas around the greens were reintroduced, the average area of such spaces now being around 1,000 square metres per hole.
Members have welcomed the larger variety of short game options and reintroduction of some challenging pin positions – which had been lost due to the reduction in size of some greens and “dumbing down” of their original shapes.
A bunker renovation programme started in 2018, with IVGD noting that over time, bunkers had lost their beauty, become much deeper and were hard to maintain. By using old aerials and photography as a reference, Pont and Hilgert began renovating bunkers on two par threes – the eighth and tenth – restoring them to their original shapes and depths.
Further work was completed in December 2019 with 11 bunkers on six holes restored in the same manner. The contractor is Profusion Environmental, with shaping being undertaken by Mark Turner, and Blinder bunker lining is being installed in all renovated bunkers.
“It is a great privilege to be helping Falkenstein restore key elements of this beautiful Colt, Alison & Morrison course,” said Pont. “I am delighted with the work done thus far and very confident that this long-term restoration project will provide the club’s members with the best possible golfing experience for the foreseeable future.”
Hilgert, head of German operations for IVGD, said: “Falkenstein is one of over 30 clubs with a Colt architectural heritage to have worked with IVGD. IVGD’s dedication to rigorous and detailed research allied with a profound knowledge of the architects of the early twentieth century delivers courses which are more fun to play, more pleasing on the eye and more respectful of their heritage.”
The next phase of work is expected to start in October.