Stirling & Martin designs new course on Mediterranean coast

  • Los Calamos
    Stirling & Martin

    A visualisation of the new Los Cálamos development, which includes plans for a golf course designed by Blake Stirling and Marco Martin

  • Los Calamos
    Stirling & Martin

    The project is in Castellon on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, and will begin in September

  • Los Calamos
    Stirling & Martin

    Stirling & Martin’s routing includes some heavily bunkered par threes and several holes that interact with water

Richard Humphreys
By Richard Humphreys

Construction of a new 18-hole golf course, designed by Stirling & Martin, in Castellon on Spain’s Mediterranean coast, will begin in September.

Architects Blake Stirling and Marco Martin were first introduced to the site in 2004. That project, with the working title St Gregory Golf, did not come to fruition, but the architects were contacted about the site again in 2020 by another developer with plans to transform the 300-hectare site into a tourism destination called Los Cálamos. This opportunity includes a golf course plus housing, a football academy, tennis academy, skate park, private park and 20 hectares of land reserved for environmental conservation. Part of the environmental plan is to create a nature reservoir for native turtles and an overflow channel to evacuate rainwater during heavy storms.

“As a golf architect, it has been an enthralling task to develop a routing that merges with all the environmental, engineering and land use restrictions,” said Martin. “We are so close to the beach and our site is extremely flat – there’s less than a one-metre difference in any spot. The water level fluctuates from 0.6 to 1.3 metres, and we are limited with the volume that can be imported.

“The owner wanted great views of the opening holes from the houses that will be built, and during the rainy season, we have to take care of – and circulate around the golf course – more than 24 cubic metres of water per second. With the environmental restrictions and archaeological areas that are to be integrated in the design, it makes for a great cocktail in developing a fabulous golf course routing!”

Golf course irrigation will utilise wastewater from the nearby town of Burriana.

After several routings, Martin landed on a plan that sees several holes play parallel to housing. “The final routing is a great example of what a golf course master plan should be when it relates to residential and tourist areas,” said Martin. “The first, fifteenth, sixteenth and seventeenth holes all have excellent views towards the Mediterranean Sea. The golf course plays from 5,000 to 7,000 yards – this will offer golfers many different ways to plot their way around.”

This article first appeared in the July 2022 issue of Golf Course Architecture. For a printed subscription or free digital edition, please visit our subscriptions page.