Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

23 Michiel van der Vaart is leading a renovation project at Golfclub De Dommel, near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, with work scheduled to finish in time for the club’s centenary in 2028. The architect is aiming to improve playability and safety on the course, reinstate De Dommel’s original heathland style, and better connect holes that had been designed by Harry Colt in 1929, Frank Pennink in 1984 and Frank Pont in 2014. “The course has become overgrown over the past decades,” said van der Vaart. “It’s a necessity to open things up to allow for more strategic golf. All the ‘old’ 12 holes [by Colt and Pennink] need more width, not only for playability but for sunlight and airflow across tees, fairways and greens. The result I want to achieve is more clustered trees – mainly pines – combined with open areas where heather, sand and fescue form a more naturalistic look. “The biggest change will be the eighth and ninth. The former plays with a sharp dogleg left that is currently blocked by trees if the drive is less than 190 metres. In opening the left side, from around the 150-metre mark, and changing the woodland into heather with little sandy dunes, players will be able to hit across this area, creating a more Cape-like effect. “The integration of heathlands has everything to do with the identity of this golf course. By incorporating heather in bunker edges, we can draw quirky natural shapes from the side, almost like fingers, close to the fairway. For the players it is a new form of obstacle but know from surrounding golf courses what to expect.” Next phase of Verulam renovation to begin in October James Edwards is overseeing a renovation at Verulam Golf Club in St Albans, England. “Our old bunkers needed upgrading,” said Paul Keen, general manager at Verulam. “They had poor liners, narrow bases, and faces that were either not steep enough or too shallow. We also wanted a comprehensive overview of the entire course. This is not just a bunker project; we want to elevate Verulam from a very good local course to one that is recognised with the very best.” The renovation will be completed within four years, with Conor Walsh handling construction and new course manager Peter Allam and course director Don Ward representing the club, alongside Keen. The first phase was completed in February 2023, with work due to start up again in October. Photo: Spogard & VanderVaart Photo: Verulam Golf Club Van der Vaart begins centenary project at De Dommel