Just outside of the capital city Riga in Latvia, you’ll find the first Nicklaus Design golf courses in the Baltic states at Jurmala Golf Club and Hotel, writes Wendy O’Brien, Golf Course Superintendent.
In 2012 the Nicklaus Design team were asked to propose a new design of the existing 27 hole golf club. Part of the site was an old orchard, with subsoil of peat and many channels and ponds, so would often flood and close the course. It was decided that a major rebuild would be needed to be able to play golf to a high standard expected from a Nicklaus Design course. Over 156,000 cubic metres of sand was brought on site to fully sand cap all the playing surfaces down to 30cm. 64km of drainage and 27km irrigation was laid, ponds and channels were altered and added for drainage and the new routing of the course. A fully automated Toro Lynx irrigation system has been installed with over 1500 irrigation heads, Capillary concrete was also installed to line the bunkers before white sand was used to complement the design further.
Nicklaus Associate Designer Dirk Bouts and Agronomist Sylvain Duval oversaw the development visiting the site several times a year and several of the Nicklaus Design contractors would shape and mould the course in the seasonal months, with the project having to stop during the frozen winter months, with Latvian companies Baltic Golf Development and Modo Golf completing the construction works.
An extension and renovation to the irrigation pump station with a fertigation and pH injection system installed, modernised maintenance facility and fleet of machinery has completed the requirements for maintaining the golf course and at the start of 2017 Wendy O’Brien was appointed as full time Golf Course Superintendent to complete the final stages of grow in and take the course and team into operational maintenance.
At the end of 2018 the Clubhouse with Hotel and Driving Range was completed, currently with 17 rooms there are plans to further extend the hotel to a higher capacity and future facilities include a gym, spa and banqueting hall will all add to the resort. Work has also started on the housing complex which will eventually see more than 240 houses along side the golf course, giving spectacular views across the course and offering a unique lifestyle in the area for those wanting to escape the city and live closer to the beach resort of Jurmala only 10 minutes away.
The 18 hole Jurmala Course is a challenging course with strategically placed bunkers, water hazards and tall fescue roughs, the T1 creeping bentgrass greens and have been highly regarded by players often commenting on their excellent playing condition. The 9 hole Academy Course is on an area of old orchard with many of the fruit trees still providing a good crop in the Autumn, with undulating, raised greens, mature trees and with signature water for the site it is no simple pitch and putt course, giving even the most seasoned golfer a chance to improve their short game.
In addition to the golf courses, Jurmala Golf Club also provides state of the art practice facilities with two chipping greens, practice bunkers and the 3 hectare double ended Driving Range has both outdoor and indoor bays complete with individual heaters and floodlights for the shorter daylight hours at the end of the season, in addition 7 bays are fitted with TopTracer ball tracking system which allows for all levels of golfers to have fun while improving their game. A Foresight simulator and Trackman system that can be used 12 months a year is also available in a large private room, the Driving Range is an excellent venue for all.
Jurmala Golf Club https://jgch.lv/
Nicklaus Design https://www.nicklaus.com/design/
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