The Moorfleet golf course in Hamburg, Germany, has reopened following a redesign project by architect Rainer Preissmann of Deutsche Golf Holding.
The architect has created a new nine-hole executive course on the land of six of the course’s original nine holes, with a four-hole beginner loop planned in place of the other three holes.
The new project marks a return to the club for Preissmann, who designed the original course, which opened in 2002, on the infamous site of the Bille settlement. Housing had been built there in the 1950s but had to be demolished in the 1990s when it became clear that contaminated silt on the site posed a health risk, forcing residents to leave their homes.
For the original design, Preissmann worked alongside the developer – for whom he had already created a golf course on a sensitive site in Oberhausen, in the Ruhr area in the west of Germany – and local authorities to make the site safe.
“With an ultimately convincing and mature idea, the problems of contaminated site management impressively combined with an exciting, landscape-oriented golf concept,” said Preissmann.
That plan involved using the material from the demolished homes for a basic relief of the course, with a protective impermeable soil layer to prevent water leaching into the contaminated material beneath. Fairways were raised and sculpted “so that the surface water could be collected in a system of ditches and swales and fed in an orderly manner from the site,” said Preissmann.
Over the past twenty years, the course’s condition had deteriorated. “Drainage ditches had become overgrown, connecting pipes were clogged, the irrigation system was outdated and partly ailing,” said Preissmann.
In 2019, Moorfleet was acquired by Peter Merck, the owner of Hamburg’s successful Golf Lounge concept, a three-tiered driving range and putting course. Recognising the potential of Moorfleet, his first step was to redesign the clubhouse – in the style of a southern US country mansion – and terrace and surrounds areas, where the club began hosting events in Christmas 2019.
Preissmann and Merck had both been involved in the process of Hamburg’s application for the 2022 Ryder Cup and the Olympic Games. “We had many fruitful discussions about golf and its multifaceted possibilities for the development of sustainable and economically viable concepts,” said Preissmann.
“We developed an exciting and creative plan that would transform the six holes, located on the southern part of the site, into an interesting and nine-hole round,” said Preissmann.
The new course is a collection of holes ranging from 86 to 328 yards – three par threes and six short par fours – for a total par of 33 and length of 2,043 yards. Players may choose to leave woods out of their bag, with the layout emphasising accuracy over power. “It can be played quickly and promises a successful experience if you concentrate on the individual holes and not play too aggressively,” said Preissmann.
The project also saw the restoration of drainage and the trench system, and the club plans regular sandcapping. The irrigation system was overhauled by Dennis Brehmer of construction company Golfplatzbau, with a Toro Lynx Central Control System installed. This was particularly helpful for grow-in: “The possibility of a precise time adjustment made a positive impression, especially when establishing the sensitive green seeds,” said Preissmann.
The architect says that with biotope management and additional plantings, the golf course, which reopened in September, “presents itself as a landscape which recalls the tradition of English landscape parks”.