Royal Waterloo Golf Club, south of Brussels, Belgium, has appointed Caspar Grauballe to develop a master plan for future work on its golf courses.
The project is in the planning phase at the moment and Grauballe is having a detailed survey carried out on the club’s 45 holes, which are close to the famous battlefield of Waterloo. The first focus of Grauballe’s master plan is a bunker renovation on La Marache, the club’s main 18 holes, with construction beginning in 2021.
“All bunkers and green surrounds will be worked on in the first phase,” said Grauballe. “Following that, we are creating a rolling five-year development plan. The idea is to create a development plan for all the courses for the next five years and then to keep updating it every year. In this way there is always an updated plan for the next five-year period.
“The aim is to improve the La Marache course in terms of better visual appearance, easier maintenance and most importantly, give the players the best possible experience when playing the course. We have positioned the bunkers with a heavy emphasis on challenging the stronger players and creating more playability for the shorter hitters.
“The course has held numerous tournaments over the years, and it is important that the course remains a tournament venue, but at the same time ensuring that all the members can enjoy the course.”
La Marache’s bunkers had become labour intensive for maintenance, especially after heavy rain events. Grauballe plans to install a liner to help with this issue and then he is looking to update the bunker strategy as some have become redundant to the stronger hitters.
“Due to the very strict restrictions on chemicals imposed in Belgium, we have had to remove a large number of trees in order to give the grass the best possible growing conditions with lots of light and air movement,” said Grauballe. “This has altered some of the holes considerably. We are also re-planting trees, but we are very careful in placing them in areas where they don’t affect the grass quality, but at the same time help with framing the course.
“Besides the bunkers we are looking at improving the green surrounds both from a maintenance and a playability point of view. The removal of trees has opened up for the possibility to expand some of the green areas which will make maintenance easier.”
Grauballe’s previous work at Royal Waterloo, as part of the Hawtree Ltd team, involved renovating greens to USGA specification. “I then worked mainly on the Marache course where all the greens were rebuilt in a two-year period,” he said. “After that I did smaller work on the Lion course including a new green for the par-three fourteenth.”