Construction work has nearly finished on the Lassi Pekka Tilander designed Pärnu Bay course in Estonia. Known as the ‘’summer capital’’ of Estonia, Pärnu is located on the Baltic coast approximately 130 kilometres south of Tallinn.
The 18-hole Pärnu Bay will provide a breath of fresh air for Northern European golf, but the design is firmly rooted in the origins of the game. With a location next to the sea, the wide fairways and expansive sand areas and multi-leveled greens will remind golfers of famous links courses. There will be no other courses like it in the Baltic States and only a few comparable ones in all of Northern Europe.
Two distinct features that make up Pärnu Bay will provide a golf experience to stimulate all the senses. First, all areas of play are built from sand. This guarantees that the course will play the same way from spring till late autumn in all weather conditions.
The second distinct feature at Pärnu will be the shaping. Fairways undulate gently without major surprises. However, the greens feature bolder movement. A ball can be kept in play easily but good scoring will depend on local knowledge and sound strategy.
The style of the course also comes from the early traditions of links-style golf. The grass on all playing areas will be kept short with only two mowing heights. Greens will be cut to green height with all other areas in play only slightly taller. In addition, there will be some fescue areas where tall but sparsely growing native grass will sway with the sea winds.
Par at Pärnu Bay is 72 and the course will measure from 4500 to 6200 metres. Unlike traditional links, both the front and back nine will start and finish near the clubhouse. In addition to the 18-hole course, there will be 5-hole par-3 course, a driving range and two greens for short game practice. A hotel and a spa are in the planning.
Behind this project is the Swedish-Estonian businessman Peter Hunt, who has enjoyed much success, most notably, in the textile trade. This will be his second golf course. In 2013, he acquired the majority shares in Saare Golf on the Estonian island of Saaremaa.
Construction of Pärnu Bay began in 2012. The contractor is the Scottish-Italian firm of Nelson & Vecchio with Mick McShane as the lead shaper. The opening will be in summer 2015.
Nelson & Vecchio www.nelsonvecchio.com
Tilander Golf Design www.tilandergolfdesign.com