More than 60 million people play the little white ball game, making golf the most practised individual sport in the world.
But what’s the anatomy of a golf course? Are they just naturally stunning greens in luxury locations or is there a strategy behind a good golf course?
Golf courses – a balance between nature and design
‘A golf course must be interesting to a player, the player must fight against it, it must be a challenge, not an ordeal!’ says Michel Benedetti – and he should know. He conceives and builds golf courses. In fact, he’s built more than a hundred courses in the world, including The Links and the Lémuria.
A golf course has 9 or 18 holes, fairways, roughs, greens, trees, flowers and a host of other wildlife. But underneath this delightful and seemingly effortless veneer of nature, lies meticulous planning and strategy.
The whole course has been designed and constructed, hole by hole, yard by yard, to ensure a varied and exciting golfing experience. It has to work for both professionals and amateurs.
A truly great golf terrain is thought out in meticulous detail and is a delicate marriage of design, architecture and nature.
Design and architecture of a golf course
A great golf course unites the elements: water, the lines of the ground, the subsoil – all in an area of fifty hectares for an 18-holes.
To begin with, designers need a good plot of land. The lie of the land itself and its irrigation systems will affect the end design of a course. But land can and is shaped by designers and architects to create the golf course they have in mind.
Like a car, a golf course can be a Ferrari, a Mercedes or simply a good touring car – it’s all down to good design and architecture.
Earthwork, drainage, canalisation, irrigation, grass, turf and fairway covering, sandpits – the list of things that go into creating and building a complex, luxury golf course are numerous.
Michel Benedetti says of his designers and architects: “we are a like experts out when we build a golf course; it’s a sum of our knowledge and experience which speaks.”
The maturity of a golf course
When it comes to nature, it’s not just the view and location that are important – so is the grass, plants, trees and foliage.
If you think of the earth and grass as the ‘mattress’ the golf ball bounces on, you can start to see how different grasses and soils have an effect on the ‘bounce’ of your little white ball.
The development of the roots and the density of the different types of grass selected for a golf course is essential – as is the soil quality. The maturity period or “growing establishment” of grass is also vital – get this wrong and the whole course could fail.
Ecology and golfing
In the coming years, ecology is going to become more and more important to golf courses all over the world. A lot of research is already taking place to develop hybrid types of grass which will need lees fertilizers and less water – perfect for golf locations in hot, dry enviroments.
Equipment for golf course will increasingly rely on solar energy to offset the use of oils and motor engines or diesel which are currently favoured.
Saving endangered species of plants is also something many golf course designers are thinking about.
By combining natural beauty with expert design and architecture with an eye for conservation and ecology, golf course designers are able to give to golfers the best of everything: the feeling of playing among trees, an exceptional environment and the perfect technical golf course.
About Constance Hotels Golf Resorts
Constance Hotels Experiences has contributed a number of our own courses in our hotels in Mauritius and Seychelles – they are renowned destinations for golf in the sun.