Director of golf course grounds, Borja Azpilicueta, believes Club de Golf Alcanada’s new greens will be up there with the world’s best upon completion of a stunning €600,000 renovation project.
The stunning course in Mallorca is set to returf all 18 of its greens with state-of-the-art bentgrass Tee-1 this winter, as well as replace the sand in every bunker, repair cart paths, upgrade 3,000 metres of the underground irrigation system and improve the pro shop to further enhance what is already considered to be one of Europe’s premier golf courses.
The Porsche-owned club, the Balearic island’s only course that is next to the sea, has already successfully re-laid the practice greens with the new bentgrass, a superior variety of seed that is used at famous clubs such as Valderrama and Golf National, in Paris and host of this year’s Ryder Cup.
And Madrid-born director of golf course grounds Azpilicueta, who is in charge of the operation having also overseen both the two-year construction of Club de Golf Alcanada from 2001 to 2003, as well as an upgrade in 2008, says the final results will catapult Alcanada’s already acclaimed status.
“The work we are doing here will ensure that Alcanada’s future will be brighter than ever,” he declared. “When we are finished the greens will be of fantastic quality. I cannot wait to start. The course is already 15 years old and certain things do need to be upgraded as we have to keep improving the quality and I am confident that next spring the course will look remarkable.
“Golf is a very competitive industry – you can’t stand still. The greens are the most important part of a course and this new grass will produce top-quality greens, as good as you will find anywhere.
“The grass we are laying is bentgrass Tee-1 from the US, but we will ship it in from mainland Spain where it will have been growing under special conditions. Ideally you need nine months for it to grow so it’s old enough to be cut and rolled. It is the grass that is used at a lot of the most prestigious clubs across the world and will enhance the golfing experience at Alcanada.”
Alcanada has long been a favourite for golfers from across Europe thanks to the stunning views of Alcudia Bay and iconic lighthouse from which the highly acclaimed Robert Trent Jones Jr-designed course takes its name.
The project is being undertaken as the existing paspalum grass on the fairways and rough has invaded the greens, with the work beginning during the off-season, starting the first week of December and being completed at the end of February to ensure disruption to members and visitors is kept to a minimum.
“The grass we have at the moment is a bentgrass, called Seaside II,” said Azpilicueta, 46, who plays off a five handicap. “That was chosen because it was more tolerant of salt. The new grass is denser, more upright growth and produces a better surface and has more resistance to disease.
“It is an old variety of grass, but each year there are new varieties that are better quality such as the Tee-1, which is a better colour and can withstand more mowing and contains more leaf per centimetre.
“The process will begin in December when we remove the grass at a rate of two a day and the official opening will be March 1, so it is a relatively quick process and is the quietest time to do it for our clients. There will be some minor changes to the contours of the greens, but the results will be excellent. We always try to have the greens quick, but sometimes we have complaints they are too quick. It is difficult to please everyone, but the surfaces will be first class.”
Garden & Golf, leading Spanish golf course construction company will look after the re-shaping of the greens, the irrigation works and cart paths while the sod will be supplied by Novogreen, one of the largest sod suppliers in Europe. All other work including the bunker renovation, replacing sand and renewing drainage as needed will be done in house.
Club de Golf Alcanada, a member of the prestigious World of Leading Golf collection, has already made a host of other improvements over the last year or so, including a new halfway house called the Lighthouse Bar and the introduction of TagMarshal, a course management system designed to speed up play by an average of 14 minutes.
And staying true to its roots, the course is also home to a centuries-old Mallorca clubhouse, which offers guests the opportunity to sample delicious regional specialties in its first-class dining facilities on a sun-baked terrace that boats spectacular sea views.
Club de Golf Alcanada www.golf-alcanada.com