Golf Course Architecture - Issue 58 October 2019

64 ROYAL NORWI CH as well as the closing greens of each nine. A pathway leads to a six-hole academy course. It is a hive of activity, where members can interact and spend as long as they like enjoying all aspects of the game, deep in the Norfolk countryside, among both woodland – with mature oaks, beech, lime and chestnut trees – and more open, parkland areas. “The site is the star,” says McMurray. “It’s not often you get to work with a site of this quality, so we didn’t want to create a course that yells ‘here’s me’ and imposes itself on the landscape. We designed a course that golfers would want to come back and play the next day and would be fun for everyone, whatever their standard.” On the main course, the design allows for movement in both directions – width and length. “We have created generous fairways and holes that are easy enough for the better player to bogey, but a challenge to birdie,” says McMurray. Those fairways are lined with light fescue which, with appropriate maintenance, should be thin enough to make it easy to find and play errant tee shots. And Grice describes the course as “the longest in Norfolk, and also the shortest.” Bronze tees play from just over 5,000 yards, but the Gold stretch over 7,200, with three more options in between. The estate did have a golf course before, but all features – tees, greens, bunkers – have been completely redesigned and rebuilt. Some of the previous hole corridors have been used, essential given the tree preservation orders in place on the site. Estates Situated in one of the UK’s driest regions – receiving less than 700 millimetres of rainfall a year – Peter Todd and his team at Royal Norwich needed agronomic solutions that would enable greens to deliver predictable maintenance requirements. Peter and golf course architect Ross McMurray considered a few different options. They discounted using peat pretty early on, because sustainability was an important part of this project, and looked at green waste and other inorganic amendments. The design team came to Profile Products and together we ultimately agreed on Profile Porous Ceramic (PPC) Greens Grade rootzone amendment in both greens and tees. It has been used in greens and renovations for over a decade, but Royal Norwich would be the first time the product has been used in a UK new build. The PPC particle found in Greens Grade is 74 per cent pore space with 39 per cent capillary (water) pores and 35 per cent non-capillary (air) pores. Blended with sand in a greens mix, it can improve water- and nutrient-holding capabilities, increase oxygen levels at the rootzone, and facilitate drainage when soils are saturated. The folks at Royal Norwich are dedicated to creating a course that’s going to excel in the long-term. Using PPC in its greens, Royal Norwich will see an improvement in filtration as well as air and water porosity. In the end they are going to see some very healthy deep rooting root zones. A firm foundation Healthy and firm turf will bring the best out of Royal Norwich’s new golf course design. Gavin Kelly explains how Profile Products has helped the club establish a rootzone to achieve this Photo: GCA