Städler completes greens renovation at GC Hannover

Städler completes greens renovation at GC Hannover
Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Städler Golf Courses has overseen a greens renovation at Golfclub Hannover in Germany.

The focus of the renovation – which was overseen by project architects Christoph Städler and Philipp Fleischhauer – was to renew green complexes and expand the water supply.

Work began in November 2018, on the course originally designed by Dr Bernhard von Limburger. “Our planning did not only include the renewal of the actual green areas, but also the extensive redesign of all the surrounding areas,” said Städler. “In general, the greens were shaped relatively softly, but through changing slopes and clearly distinguishable green sectors, the green complexes are now much more varied and aesthetically more appealing than before.”

The club made use of sand from their own golf site for the construction of the greens, including the rootzone layer.

“This was unavoidable because the only access road to the golf course leads through an open-air recreational site where no permit would have been granted for the transport of several hundred sand laden trucks,” said Städler. “Therefore, suitable sand had to be taken from the golf course site, which fortunately was available.

“The most suitable areas for exploitation were determined by means of several test drillings. The sand was excavated to a depth of four metres and used for the construction of the new green complexes. If the sand had to be bought, as is usual with other golf courses, the construction costs would have been approximately €200,000 higher. By using its own sand and avoiding environmentally damaging supplies, this renovation measure was a prime example of sustainability.

“As a welcome by-product of the sand extraction, a storage lake for the irrigation water was created,” continued Städler. “This is an extremely important measure for the water supply of the golf course – and thus for the quality of the essential playing areas. Until then, the irrigation water from wells had been fed directly into the irrigation system which was detrimental to the health of the grasses due to the low temperature of the groundwater. Even more important, however, was the fact that the groundwater’s heavy iron content could be reduced to a small, innoxious residual amount by first pumping the water over a stone-covered settling basin before it enters the storage lake. There, most of the iron is deposited by binding it with atmospheric oxygen, which demonstrably reduces the remaining iron content in the pond to a harmless level.”

The construction of a storage lake shortened the twelfth hole to a short driveable par four. “Since the green’s right and rear edges run directly along the lake embankment, the seduction to attack the green with the tee shot is associated with a high risk for long-hitters,” said Städler. “The result is an attractive risk-reward hole – a design type that the course has lacked so far and thus will further enhance the course’s strong strategic values.

“As far as the modelling of the greens is concerned, it should be noted that it was by no means our aim to significantly change the original character of the ‘Limburger’ greens and to make the game more difficult by modelling the green surfaces too strongly.

“The renovation is also an essential measure to safeguard the attractiveness of the course,” continued Städler. “This will facilitate the recruitment of new members and will have a stronger binding effect on existing members. It will certainly have a positive influence on the economic situation of the club and its competitiveness in the regional golf market.”

Construction was completed in late August ahead of the greens being back in play for the 2020 season.

This article includes material that first appeared in the October 2019 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.