Golf Course Architecture - Issue 65, July 2021

40 TEE BOX A new state-of-the-art short game facility by Southwest Greens Construction’s UK division has opened at Parc Golf Club in Newport, Wales. It was designed by Wales Golf ’s head of coaching Neil Matthews and Southwest Greens UK sales director Warren Bailey. Southwest Greens has been supported on The Parc Academy project by Sport Wales, Wales Golf and The R&A. “The green includes different undulations and is reached from multiple pods each fitted with varying lengths of artificial grass and set at assorted inclines to ensure that every player and ability is catered for,” said Bailey. “Wheelchair access was also an important consideration during talks about the project,” said Kevin Holinaty, president of Southwest Greens Construction. “We are very pleased with the outcome of the project. The combination of golf course construction and use of synthetic systems in these large scale projects supports our internal focus with a specialised construction division that works on a global basis, versus our residential product offerings.” “Golf course managers face many challenges in today’s market to keep their facility relevant for existing players and attracting new members or visitors from different generations,” said Holinaty. “Nowadays people expect a golf course to offer more than a good 18-hole challenge. The service, range and short game facilities are ways to differentiate one facility from another. In many cases, the range is now digitally supported with companies like Trackman, Foresight and Flightscope offering high-end measurement systems. This leads to ‘gamification’ on the range to improve the range experience and offer the keen golfer more data and the social golfer more entertainment. Southwest Greens embraces these innovations and has developed synthetic target green turf systems to support the range experience for golfers. “Southwest Greens’ product portfolio further includes solutions for tees and teelines, fairway, rough and bunker applications as well as several products for putting surfaces, ranging from small surfaces in an indoor setting to replacing greens on existing courses, short layouts or practice areas. The latter requires a comparative approach, considering the vast environmental and maintenance benefits versus natural turf, without compromising the golfer’s experience.” The use of synthetic turf in golf applications has grown substantially in recent years. “Hot, dry summers or cold, freezing winters wreck practice areas due to their need to take constant ball-striking from players, often used by beginners or used for clinics,” said Holinaty. “Short courses and practice academy tees, greens and bunkers are being used so intensely that maintaining the natural grass is hardly possible and often that shows in the average quality throughout the year. So, besides the saving cost argument, one could argue that the quality of the short game area, or short course, could be kept consistent more easily with synthetic turf system solutions.” Short game facility opens at Parc Golf Club Photo: Southwest Greens Construction