Marc Westenborg has completed a redesign of the approach and green on the final hole at the nine-hole Southport Old Links Golf Club in the northwest of England.
The project came about due to concerns regarding the proximity of the final green to a property adjacent to it. The hole played as both a 431-yard par-four ninth, and from another set of tees as a 514-yard par-five eighteenth. Golf course manager Tony Rimmer, who had worked with Westenborg at the nearby Southport & Ainsdale in 2019, contacted the architect to see if he could help.
“I recommended that the green be relocated to a safe location by moving it back around 30 metres,” said Westenborg, who has recently become an EIGCA sustainable design leader. “This in turn meant a new eighteenth tee complex to maintain the par-five status, which in turn resulted in adjusting the fairway bunkering to suit a tee shot from both the par-four ninth tee and the par-five eighteenth tee. Quite a tricky conundrum to get right!”
The new green complex was built by DAR Golf Construction, with Arden Lea responsible for irrigation and Whitemoss Eco Supplies providing sand and gravel. Ian Rylands Ltd, a local company, assisted with earthworks and construction of new tee complexes at the first/tenth and ninth/eighteenth.
“The club requested a green with a tier, and I made sure that the green and surrounds matched the current designs of the existing greens, which have some quite intricate surround shaping,” said Westenborg. “Bearing in mind the green has to service as a par-four and a par-five hole, I also designed an approach bunker which shouldn’t really influence the hole when being played as a par four, but very much comes into play for both par five lay-up shots and a forced carry for those going for the green in two.
“The green was constructed during exceptionally challenging weather conditions and it was an amazing effort by all those involved that the work was completed successfully. The club’s members were also very much involved in the work, helping to not only strip the existing turf for re-use, but to also lay the turf once the work was completed. It was fantastic to witness such involvement by the club, making everyone feel like they were part of the project.”
Southport Old Links is now in the process of adding fairway bunkers at the first/tenth, to add some visual strength and strategy to the tee shot.