Repair and redesign work is complete at Golf Club Engelberg near Lucerne, Switzerland, following damage caused by storms and a landslide in July and August.
Golf course architects Steiner & Partner and (re)GOLF were quickly on site to help the club recover from the storms, which left the course with large quantities of silt and rock covering greens, tees and fairways on 12 of its 18 holes.
“We had over two metres of rock covering green number seven! It was unbelievable, but then again we are surrounded by mountains,” said René Rinderknecht of Golf Club Engelberg. “We knew that there was an avalanche path but even if you are aware of it, you never really expect it to happen. It reminds you of the danger and the importance of designing to minimise any future damage.”
“We have been working with Engelberg for a couple of years to develop a renovation masterplan, but suddenly things have become pretty urgent, said Erich Steiner of Steiner & Partner. “We have had to change strategy and start to think more about how to protect the golf playing surfaces instead of how to improve the golf holes.”
The main resulting change to the renovation masterplan was the creation of a wide swale designed to guide any future storm water away from the tees and greens. “It’s an important measure for the protection of the golf course and if we do it right we should be able to work it into the playing strategy and interest of these holes in question,” said Paul O’Brien of (re)GOLF.
A couple of greens and one set of tees which were not on the list of changes will now have to be raised and redesigned,” said David Bily of Steiner & Partner. “It changes your priorities and makes you think big picture.”
A month after the storms, the damaged areas have been cleared of debris, re-shaped and re-sodded. “We had a deadline to meet with a big tournament on August 25-26,” said Rinderknecht. “Thanks to the team of architects, contractors and exceptional support from the club members, we could actually play the 18-hole golf course.”