Golf Course Architecture - Issue 56: April 2019

44 Future-ready irrigation INS IGHT ELL I E PARRY Ellie Parry provides an insight into the implementation of a Rain Bird irrigation system that prepares Royal Bled in Slovenia for the long term T here cannot be many finer backdrops to any game of golf than at Royal Bled. The majestic rise and fall of the Julian Alps give way to the picturesque tranquillity of the destination’s courses. The King’s is the oldest and largest in Slovenia, dating back in its original design to 1937 and renovated by Donald Harradine in the early 1970s. This was complemented by the addition of the nine-hole Lake’s course two decades ago. Vistas from both layouts take in the iconic precipice-perched Bled Castle, which overlooks Lake Bled. Howard Swan had worked at Bled for some ten years, for a Slovenian conglomerate which owned and operated the club and hotels in the town. But it was when the Šolak family acquired the club that the long-planned renovation got underway in 2015. Over the next three years, Howard and his son William directed the design process to revolutionise what had been laid out before, leading a project team of foresters, earthmovers, shapers, lake lining specialists, drainage experts and constructors from 17 nations, as well as local specialists. The redesign extended