Johan Benestam builds extra par-three hole for Västerås GC

  • Vasteras
    Johan Benestam

    Johan Benestam has built an extra par-three hole at Västerås Golf Club in Sweden

  • Vasteras
    Johan Benestam

    The new hole is part a project that will also include rebuilding four green complexes

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Johan Benestam has built an extra par-three hole at Västerås Golf Club in Sweden, which is part of a master-planned project that includes rebuilding green complexes on four other holes.

The architect developed the master plan in 2018 and it aims to address the wear and tear that has become increasingly evident on the existing push-up greens.

With the 18-hole course laid out over a small footprint, Benestam says the club needed to have an extra hole so that “logistics were not negatively affected during the rebuilding or major maintenance work on the course.”

The architect identified a disused par-three hole that was designed by Nils Sköld in the 1960s, which could be rebuilt into a new par three with the latest technology. Work began on the hole in autumn 2020.

“The design of the hole maintains a more conservative style,” said Benestam. “We went back to the roots of ‘classic British golf design’ which is found on many historic courses. The work was performed by my colleague Alan Strachan as well as course manager Anders Körberg and his team.

“An interesting detail is that the green was sown with cores from existing greens. The goal is to get the same type of grass directly as the other greens. It is important that all the greens are experienced in the same way. It is easy for newly sown greens to have a completely different character in their first years before they have acclimatised with the same grass species as the others on the course, which is what we attempted to avoid.”

The new hole will be a short par three with a green that slopes from right to left and has multiple pin positions. “To the left of the green is a lovely hollow that is going to been cut as a fore-green. The right side has an interesting run-off. The green complex is also protected by three bunkers that can easily catch bad shots. For those who do not have high nice ball flight, or prefer to roll their ball towards the green, there is a wide entrance available to them.”

Also part of Benestam’s plan was work on tees, which was completed in autumn 2019. Seventeen tees were built to better address differences between the shorter and longer hitters. “For today’s male players, it is an easy step to move forward to the ladies’ tee, but the ladies usually have nothing to go up to, which creates a worse golf experience for them in comparison to the male members. Everyone pays the same annual fee, so why should women not have the same opportunity to play fun golf?”

After hosting a tournament on the LET Access Series – the second-tier women’s professional golf tour in Europe – in August 2021, the next project will begin on the sixth hole’s green complex, followed by the seventh, eighth and fourteenth greens over the next three years.

“After those green projects, there is nothing else planned for the greens, but the need for the extra hole will exist as all greenside bunkers will be modernised from 2025,” said Benestam. “From 2025, the focus will be on the playing experience and shot options on the course, which means that a few more ponds will be built, partly for drainage purposes but also to create risk and reward scenarios for different levels of golfers. The ponds will also help to make the course safer between the holes.

“All bunkers will be rebuilt and relocated, playing surfaces and cutting lines, including irrigation, will be reviewed in order to create challenging, strategic options for golfers of all abilities. Our master plan is a living project, the schedule from 2025 is preliminary and will depend on the club’s financial condition.”