Nelson & Haworth progress with ‘world class’ vision for Royal Ottawa

  • Royal Ottawa

    Nelson & Haworth is progressing with a renovation project at The Royal Ottawa Golf Club

  • Royal Ottawa

    Two new holes have been built on the Royal 9 and were ready for play in July 2019

  • Royal Ottawa

    Construction is underway on a chipping green

  • Royal Ottawa

    A visualisation of the new short game area

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Nelson & Haworth is progressing with a renovation project at The Royal Ottawa Golf Club in Quebec, Canada.

“The club’s goal was not only to improve the golf course but also provide world class facilities that were more family orientated,” said Neil Haworth.

“The project is part of an ongoing upgrading of The Royal Ottawa Golf Club. This is the third year N&H has been consulting with the club to implement a golf course renovation master plan that we prepared in 2016.”

The first phase began in in 2017, which was to rebuild three holes that had been identified as ‘needing major improvements’ on the 18-hole Royal Ottawa course.

In 2018, two new holes were built on the Royal 9 — the club’s nine-hole layout — which were ready for play in July 2019. The original second and third holes were closed, and the construction of a new driving range started.

“Our scope of work was to design the two new holes and a new driving range that is world class with target greens, a chipping green, and a large grass tee that is large enough to use all summer and can accommodate up to 30 golfers at a time,” said Haworth. “A couple of memorial oak trees in memory of past members have been kept and will be featured as part of the range. A combination of bluegrass and bentgrass will result in the range representing the conditions and shots required on the main course.”

Read more: Haworth’s project at The Royal Ottawa featured in the 2018 ‘design excellence’ special edition of ASGCA’s By Design magazine

The key for the club was to keep all holes and the range open. “The golfing season is short here in Canada, so the board of director’s insisted that all work not affect members during the golfing season.”

Construction of the new range began on 1 August with grassing starting in late September. Once the new range opens in July 2020, the existing one will be closed, and N&H will start construction of a new short game area.

Golf course superintendent Mike Van Sickle has been managing the project for the club, which has chosen Rain Bird and Mountainview Turfgrass Specialists for its irrigation and turf needs. Dan Lacroix did the shaping works.

"Drainage was key to the design as the low point on the property allowed us to only raise the low areas of site,” said Haworth. “We had to balance the earthworks as well as stockpile earth to use for phase two — short game area. The top end of the range borders a conservation area, so we had to respect municipal by-laws in the design — we ended up exceeding them in many areas.

“While not directly part of our scope, there will be a golf academy building that will have the latest technology to help members improve. The infrastructure for TrackMan is being installed with the hope that the club will provide this technology for members. But what I am most excited about is that the members will soon have a world class practice facility where they can enjoy and improve their golf. Hopefully it will allow families to spend more time together and encourage more golfers to play golf.

“It is rare for a club located so close to a major city to have the land available to embark on such a project, but with visionary use of the available land we were able to design an excellent facility for the members.”