The Royal Malta Golf Club has hired golf course architect Scott Macpherson to redesign and lengthen its golf course.
The historic club was formed in 1888 and originally golfers played a nine-hole course around stone ramparts and fortifications in Valetta. Around 1905 the course moved to Marsa to be part of the United Services Sports Club – an exclusive club for the British officers and their families. The parkland course which was laid out by the Royal Engineers in 1904 has developed over the years to become a 5,501-yard par 68, and is Malta’s only golf course.
Macpherson’s redesign will extend the length of the course and increase par to 70. The project involves building eighteen new greens, to USGA recommendations, and new bunkering, building five new tees complexes and upgrading the other thirteen, adding 3,000 square metres of new fairways and landing areas, and a significant tree planting project.
“The project has been approved in principle by the Royal Malta’s membership and the works are expected to take place in phases,” said Macpherson.
The redesigned layout will not only offer two loops of nine but also three loops of six. Macpherson is currently working on the redesign plans and construction may take place over the next two years. Work on nine greens could start in June 2020 and run for three months, before restarting in June 2021 on the remaining greens.
“I always have a focus on the environmentally sustainability of our designs, but I am also looking forward to designing the new greens and creating 18 challenges that will excite and entertain golfers of all abilities,” said Macpherson. “There is a real opportunity to embrace some classical and creative green designs strategies from the golden age of golf course design. And with the small 25-hectare site like the one the Royal Malta sits on, I think it’s key is to focus the attention on and around the greens, so accuracy and short game skills are most rewarded. The greens will not be overly contoured but will be of various shapes and sizes and have some tilt to reward well-played shots.”
Royal Malta chairman Paul Stoner described the project as the last component in the overall modernisation of the club. A new clubhouse, the implementation of a professional management structure and comprehensive irrigation project have all been completed recently.
“It’s a wonderfully historic club, and an interesting piece of land with the racetrack running around the outside of the course,” said Macpherson. “There are lots of challenges for us with water quality, temperature, and grass types, but the club has a great new management and greenkeeping team in place, and we are looking forward to working with them to create something special.”