All eighteen holes of the PGA National Czech Republic course – at the Oaks Prague residential village 15 miles south-east of the centre of the Czech capital – are now open for preview play, ahead of an official opening in spring 2021.
“The course has been routed to flow through beautiful Czech countryside and take advantage of the different ‘rooms’ and view aspects that add memorability,” said golf course architect Kyle Phillips. “The opportunity was not only to create a world-class golf experience, but also to revive and restore the old Nebrenice Chateau and its surrounding landscape and forest areas. Where there were only open farm fields, the golf course design has provided hundreds of thousands of square metres of new nature, including bio corridors, native trees, shrubs and grasses.”
The course has just 25.2 hectares of maintained turf. Golf course superintendent Jordan Fairweather, of club operator Troon International, has taken care of grow-in and said: “A drought-tolerant new variety of regenerating perennial ryegrass, blended with fescue, was used on fairways. There are two hectares of wild flower meadows and approximately 18 hectares of fescue which is not irrigated.”
Work has been done to create, preserve and enhance forest, wetlands and habitat areas. “We are currently improving all the existing forests by replacing the larch and spruce which are infected with bark beetle to an oak and hornbeam stand which is native to the region,” said Fairweather. “Three main waterways through the course were rejuvenated before construction began and a pond management programme put in place. Additional created habitat areas include snake walls, frog ponds and an insect sanctuary, and two bio corridors run through the site.”
Phillips reflected on his first visit to the site: “The historic landscape near the main house had been completely abandoned. Many invader tree species had voluntarily sprung up, adversely affecting the health of the historic predominantly oak trees. Almost all of the remaining parts of the golf course site were rolling open farmlands, devoid of all vegetation.
“Since we started work in 2006, we have worked closely with the development team on master planning the property. It was vital that the golf course be fully integrated with the residential and recreation facilities and planning constraints. There were well over two dozen concepts studied during this process, before arriving on the final layout.”
The par-72 championship course operated by Troon International has five sets of tees and can play from a total yardage ranging from 5,400 to 7,600 yards.
The club has joined GEO Foundation’s On Course programme and aims to achieve GEO Certified status as a leader in environmental and economic sustainability, fulfilling its promise to residents to protect the surrounding environment and manage water and energy responsibly.
A Toro Lynx irrigation system with 945 sprinklers helps the club ensure precise water coverage. All irrigation water for the course is captured from rainfall, with 100 per cent of drainage from the golf course and hard standing areas filtered back to the irrigation reservoir. Seven biofilters allow the removal of any nutrient from all water harvested from greens.
There are nine kilometres of recreational trails for jogging, cycling and equestrian use, which link the surrounding countryside, golf course and points of interest in nature. The renovation of the 19th century chateau to become the golf clubhouse is being conducted to the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design requirements, with 100 per cent recycling of all irrigation and drainage water from the project back to storage for use by the golf course irrigation system.
An On Site report on the PGA National Czech Republic course will appear in a future edition of Golf Course Architecture
This article first appeared in the October 2020 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.