Golf Course Architecture - Issue 70, October 2022

There are things you learn about maintenance that you really can only see when you have been sat on a triplex trying to mow the course. At the JCB Golf & Country Club, the biggest change has been the conditioning of the place. We had a development budget, but in the four years since we finished, they have done a lot of work, especially on the out of play areas. It is a lot more manicured than it was, and I think that is a function of senior management taking a greater interest now that it is an actual working golf course. Now they have a greens staff numbering more than twenty, they have the resource to tidy it up. Design-wise, there have been a number of back tees added to give some more length. Some of those I think are a great idea, others I take the view that if they were needed, we’d have done them originally. The golf course is almost 7,400 yards from the back – it’s more than long enough. But fundamentally it is still exactly the same. We have had some thoughts about softening the landing area for the eighteenth, and I have been consulting with them on that and other things, but it hasn’t been decided yet. The Struie at Dornoch has changed a lot since it opened. When I left it, there were some sandy wastes at the far end that looked like Kiawah Island. The course has been altered by greens committees over the years, as the club changed its view as to what it should be. The Royal GC in Bahrain has changed quite a lot, but in ways they hadn’t realised. It is a lot tidier than it was – the edges of fairways are not as natural as we had them, but the main difference is the greens. They have suffered from green creep, and they were running short of hole locations. The greens had receded noticeably and since I had designed them to have hole locations near the edge, this was pretty dramatic. I went out earlier this year and we resurveyed the old edges, so they could start restoring the green sizes to where they were. GCA Small design tweaks are being considered at the JCB course in England, which opened in 2018 Photo: JCB Golf & Country Club 43