Golf Course Architecture - Issue 66, October 2021

20 TEE BOX Van der Vaart opens ‘eyes of the course’ at Amelisweerd Amelisweerd Golf Club in Utrecht, Netherlands, is undergoing a renovation by golf course architect Michiel van der Vaart. The club tasked the Spogard & VanderVaart design firm with evaluating the course, originally designed by Gerard Jol in 1997, and develop a renovation plan to improve course aesthetics and make the most of the existing landscape. Work began in 2020 and will continue over the coming years. Currently, around 40 per cent of bunker work has been completed. “The challenging greens will remain where they are, but some bunkers will be closed or moved, and the size and style of all bunkers will be changed,” said van der Vaart. “The new bunker style is rougher and more natural. Modifications to the size – and reshaping of the bunker entrances and environments – make the bunkers more visible. The eyes of the course, as I often describe bunkers, have been opened again. “For average golfers, who play from the correct tee, there is always a way to get past the bunkers, there is always a route past all obstacles. But the better players have to think carefully about which bunkers to carry, which clubs to use and which lines to choose in order to achieve the best score.” Bunkers will get new sand to help prevent balls from embedding and to avoid erosion during heavy rainfall. The mowing policy has also been changed. “Wide fairways offer options to every type of player, but a little further away from the fairways the grass is no longer short as in a manicured park,” said van der Vaart. “Here, nature is given space and nature is also enhanced. “Around the greens, players generally get more options, too, as many slopes are again managed as short-cut run- offs. That makes it possible to putt the ball or hit a low chip. Furthermore, the banks and wooded areas are being modified. These elements will also be managed more naturally and lose their parkland look. In the areas that