Smyers design for new LPGA major

Smyers design for new LPGA major
Sean Dudley

Florida-based architect Steve Smyers is to lead the transformation of the Evian Masters Golf Club in France, recently announced as the home of the LPGA’s fifth Major championship.

Originally opened in 1904 as the Domaine du Royal Club Evian, the course has been extensively remodelled throughout its history, notably in 1988 by American designer Cabell Robinson. Now, with the support of French food and drink giant Danone (which owns the Evian mineral water brand), the course is to be rebuilt again, and will host the first playing of the new-look Evian championship in September 2013.

Evian has agreed to a very long-term commitment to host the event, including the complete redesign of the course led by Smyers, in association with European Golf Design, the firm co-owned by the European Tour and IMG. The final four holes, to be known as the ‘Fantastic Finish,’ will play into, and around a spectator amphitheatre setting. The redesign will be complete in spring 2013. 

“This is a unique opportunity to take a fantastic golf course and transition it into the model for future championship play,” Smyers said. “Virtually every tee box, fairway, bunker and green structure will be redesigned to create a ‘new’ golf course, and major venue, that will challenge the best golfers in the world, and create a lasting legacy as the final LPGA major of the season.”

Irish firm Turfgrass Consultancy has been appointed as project consultant and agronomist on the project. “New USGA specification greens and tees, plus new bunker complexes will be implemented,” said Julian Mooney, the firm’s director of agronomy. “Evian is one of Europe’s most environmentally responsible golf courses and the renovation will help improve the ecology and biodiversity of this unique site.”