Golf Course Architecture - Issue 73, July 2023

78 REPORT When the LPGA Tour selected the Hills course at Seowon Hills Country Club near Seoul, South Korea, to host the BMW Ladies Championship in October 2023, it contacted Golfplan to review the design. David Dale, one of the firm’s partners, had created a renovation masterplan for the club’s Valley course several years earlier. While the club hadn’t found the time or budget to proceed, Dale’s proposals had clearly made enough of an impact for him to be asked about the Hills. “The Hills has a grand scale,” he says. “The holes are wide, the greens are enormous, and the views from the course to the surrounding mountains are beautiful. There is a wonderful variety of holes in the way they lay on the land and the lakes are large and strategically positioned. The ability to move 10,000 to 15,000 spectators around the course during an LPGA event is also ideal. “When I was asked to evaluate the Hills, which functions as an extremely busy public facility that also offers night golf every day, we started our initial spatial evaluation by using Google Earth as our base map prior to our scheduled visit to tour the course.” Fairways, tees and rough on the Hills is turfed with Kentucky bluegrass, a departure from the Zoysia that is the norm for South Korea. “The course is sandcapped to help the greenkeeping team to maintain excellent turfgrass conditions for the 120,000 rounds that are played on it each year,” says Dale. “The sandcap is critical to growing healthy cool-season turf during the hot, humid and rainy summer months. “Numerous KLPGA and KPGA events have been held on the Valley course, but the Hills checks all the boxes to host a professional golf tournament, too. The Hills was originally designed to provide more rapid play with minimal strategic character, but the chairman and management of the club had discussions with the LPGA to see what the course could competitively provide the LPGA players. Also, given this opportunity to host the BMW Ladies Championship, the club wanted to make use of this opportunity to Seowon gets Hills course tour-ready Golfplan completes bunker project at Korean club ahead of a visit by the LPGA. Golfplan’s design for the par-three seventh included the expansion and addition of bunkers to heighten the challenge Images: Golfplan