Bernhard Langer made a recent site visit to Greece to take a look at his latest design project, Navarino Dunes.
This is the fourth project on which Bernhard has worked in association with European Golf Design, the joint venture design company of The European Tour and IMG. Previous projects have included Portmarnock Links in Ireland, Panoramica Golf & Country Club in Spain and Schloss Nippenburg in Germany.
Navarino Dunes is part of a major new resort development in Messinia located on the south-west coast of the Peloponnese, Greece. The site comprises 2 km of beachfront close to Navarino Bay and the coastal village of Pylos.
From the golf course there are wonderful panoramic views in all directions. Influenced by its seaside setting and its name, “Navarino Dunes”, much of the golf course has been shaped to reflect both the rugged outlines of the distant mountains and to create something of the character of a links course with tall ‘dunes’ dividing the golf holes closest to the sea.
These dramatic land forms combine with large, undulating greens and steep faced pot bunkers to emphasise the ‘links’ feel, but as the golf course moves away from the sea the character softens to fit more easily within a more typically Greek landscape of olive and citrus groves.
Speaking during the site visit, lead designer Ross McMurray of European Golf Design, was fulsome with his praise for the location.
“It is one of the most beautiful places you could be asked to design a golf course and frankly the views are just breath taking,” he said. “We wanted to design a golf course which would not only compliment its setting but would stand out in its own right in order to attract the attention of a golfing public who may not have previously considered coming to Greece. I think we have managed to achieve that and at the same time create a golf course which will be exciting, fun and challenging in equal measure.”
Construction is well underway with 13 holes seeded along with the practice area and short game academy. Speaking after the day spent on site, Bernhard Langer said, “I was delighted to see how well the construction of the golf course is progressing. I really believe we are building something very special at Navarino Dunes, and I look forward to returning to play the course in the near future.”
The golf facilities include an 18 hole 6155m, par 72, golf course, a driving range and a separate, dedicated short game practice area where shots ranging up to 180 metres can be played to different targets and from a variety of different lies. Numerous bunkers also allow golfers to work on their sand play from different distances.
Construction is due to be completed in September and the course opens for play in 2009.
European Golf Design www.egd.com