Construction work has started on a new golf development near the small town of Navarrenx, close to Pau in south-west France.
The project will see a main 18-hole course accompanied by a short nine-hole course, along with two putting greens, a chipping area and a large driving range. A small castle will be renovated for the clubhouse and there will be 24 hotel rooms on site.
Owner Jean-Francois Cabarrouy has chosen French tour professional Nicolas Joakimides to design the golf course, and they intend to follow the 13 principles laid out by Dr Alister MacKenzie in his book Golf Architecture.
“We want no lost balls, no searching for balls and no out of bounds,” says Joakimides. “The golf will be easy to walk and fast to play. It won’t be penal – there will be 40 bunkers, all in strategic positions.”
The site is well suited for this type of golf, being easy to walk without being flat, and having many old trees, creeks and views of the nearby mountains.
Joakimides has planned for each hole on the main course to have six sets of tees, to make the course playable for all standards of golfer. “The course can be played at 7,000 yards and a par of 71 for tour pros, but the next five tees will provide a range of distances for amateurs, from 6,565 yards for single figure players to 4,705 yards from the ladies tees. And those whose handicap is beyond 36 can enjoy the nine-hole course, which will be approximately 3,000 yards and a par of 36.”
Joakimides continues: “When you look at the best courses in the world, most are very tough to play for the average golfer. MacKenzie’s Augusta is a notable exception, playable for members when the greens are not lightning fast and if they choose the appropriate tee.”
Noël Gabard and Christophe Espeyrac have been appointed as shapers for the project. Irrigation will be handled by Jean-Pierre Lemaire.
Holes 16-18 will be playable as a short loop and practice facilities will open by the summer of 2014. The full eighteen is scheduled for completion by summer 2015 and the short nine hole course a year later.
For more information on the project, visit www.nicolasjoakimides.com.