As we prepare for the festive season and New Year ahead it is always interesting to review the calendar for the year just past, and to remind ourselves what we have achieved, writes Tim Lobb.
Here at our HQ in Surrey, UK, we have noticed a steady – and pleasing – increase in project enquiries, as well as seeing a number of projects that had been put on hold during the economic downturn starting up again, and getting ready to move into construction in 2013.
In January we were delighted to attend the opening of our El Ein Bay course in Ain Souhkna, Egypt. The first nine holes are in play, and the second half of the course will open in the new year. We had a blast playing the course, which was in fantastic condition bearing in mind its youth. In Cairo, Egypt we have also been working with US-based architects RNL to masterplan an 18 hole golf course within an integrated residential development of 850 hectares – design work has been progressing all year on that project. More news from Egypt is that mass grading has started at the long anticipated New Giza course, in the shadow of the Pyramids. Final construction and grassing work for our exciting course, set in a limestone quarry should start in the second half of next year.
January was a great start to 2012: we also signed an agreement to design a new course in Calabar, Nigeria. We’ve been busy with other masterplanning studies for projects in North Africa, the Caucasus Region and the Middle East this year, and we hope to be able to make more concrete announcements about several of these early in 2013.
Nearer to home, we have been very busy working with existing golf clubs to help improve their facilities. At Woking Golf Club (founded 1893) we were appointed to design and oversee construction of a new sixteenth hole, which will open in the spring. We are in the midst of an extensive project with St George’s Hill Golf Club (1912), one of master architect Harry Colt’s greatest works, to advise on improvements to its Green nine. At Royal Jersey Golf Club (1878), we’re continuing to implement our course improvement plan, and works on holes 10, 15 and 18 have been overseen by TPL this year. We completed the two-year rebunkering of The Richmond Golf Club (1898) and the full TPL philosophy is now in play there.
Golf Monthly wrote of our work: “Richmond now has the best of both worlds – all the history and tradition you could wish for, and a course ideally equipped to challenge and entertain the 21st century golfer”. At Wimbledon Park Golf Club (1898) we will complete the second and final phase of rebunkering work in early 2013. Our ongoing consultation on the Old Course at Burhill Golf Club (1907) saw holes 11 and 12 rebunkered: these will be open for play in the Spring. Finally, this year we agreed new renovation projects at Bury St Edmunds (1924) and The Buckinghamshire Golf Club (1992), which is the home of the Ladies European Tour.
We’re looking forward eagerly to 2013 as our masterplanning work should see some new course developments going into construction in various locations around the world. It is always exciting to build new golf course and next year should be busy for that. On the home front we really enjoy working with existing clubs to improve their facilities for members and guests alike. It is a true honour to work at such clubs and we take our role of preserving the integrity of these golf courses very seriously.
Andrew Goosen reports from our Cape Town office
After spending much of the year dealing with design work for the New Calabar Golf Club in Calabar, Nigeria, we ended the year by issuing the construction tender and overseeing the appointment of a contractor. We are delighted to say we’ll break ground in January, and expect to complete construction before the end of 2014. It’s been a challenging design exercise on a dramatic piece of land, and we’re certain it will be one of West Africa’s most enjoyable golf courses, and a key asset for the city of Calabar and the Cross River State.
In Mauritius, we have been involved in a year long exercise to develop both physical and financial models for a publicly accessible golf course and real estate project. The client, one of the country’s powerful sugar consortia plans to convert some lower yielding cane fields and an old dairy into an affordable property development aimed at local people. The project, which includes golf, a golf academy, commercial areas and housing, is currently under the financial microscope, and we hope to announce more early next year.
2013 promises to be an exciting year. With Calabar in full flight, we shall be targeting existing South African golf courses with a refreshing outlook on renovation and indigenous landscape regeneration. We await exciting news about possible work in Ghana, Kenya, Mozambique and more in Nigeria.
Thomson, Perrett & Lobb www.tpl.eu.com