Golf Course Architecture: Issue 55 - January 2019

followed by a mid-length par four. The four par threes are at yardages that are likely to require four different clubs. But there is variety in hole design and character too. “In response to the site conditions and requirements, the golf course design evolved to create three subtly different landscape characters,” says Johnston. “The front nine has some dramatic elevation changes with wadi-style features. The holes leading back to the clubhouse (the eighth, ninth, seventeenth and eighteenth) are built around a series of lakes, which double as irrigation storage, and are lusher in their planting style, and the back nine is more desert-like in the shaping and planting.” As would be expected for a desert course, water management is a priority. “Like most of the golf courses in the region, Dubai Hills is irrigated with treated wastewater. Whilst the planting is quite lush along the residential edges, native desert planting that requires less water was used closer to the golf course edges. State-of-the-art software keeps the system as efficient as possible, although one of the biggest water management challenges was actually the drainage system and future-proofing the golf course to ensure that rising groundwater does not become an issue.” Johnston now moves onto another project for the same client, the ‘Emaar South’ course being developed near the new Al Maktoum airport. “The plan is for it to be just as playable as Dubai Hills but with a very different landscape character,” he says. “It will have a more desert style with large native sand areas that need to be negotiated.” With Dubai Hills having set such a high bar, we’ll be eagerly awaiting Johnston’s follow-up design. GCA DUBAI HILLS Photo: Dubai Hills Golf Club “In creating a world-class course, European Golf Design wanted an exceptional turfgrass that could deliver top performance and withstand the demanding temperatures of the region,” says John Holmes, president of Atlas Turf International. “Furthermore, the project utilises a treated sewage effluent water supply, for which the only viable long-term solution is paspalum. “To meet the scheduling needs of on-demand planting and achieve the most rapid establishment, Jeremy Slessor [managing director of European Golf Design] and I discussed a combination of vegetative and seeded paspalums. Platinum TE Paspalum was selected for the greens. It has a long history of excellent performance in the region beginning with Yas Island Links, one of the world’s top-rated golf courses. “For the tees, fairways, and roughs, Pure Dynasty Seeded Paspalum was chosen. Performing well at various heights of cut, Pure Dynasty provides a dense playing surface for fairways, flexibility for rough heights, and superior quality tees. Platinum TE is a parent of Pure Dynasty and the two share performance characteristics including density, upright growth habit, and salt tolerance.” Delivering top performance John Holmes explains turf choices at Dubai Hills At the par-four seventh, golfers can take on as much of the sand ravine as they dare 67