Golf Course Architecture - Issue 59, January 2020

63 of a green with a huge thumbprint depression on the left edge, the perfect place for a sucker pin. Throughout the course, the greens have pin placement options that can significantly impact the strategy of the hole. At the par-five fourth for example, the wide green is shaped so that golfers can use the contour to access flags tucked directly behind a small front bunker. And the sixteenth is a variation on a Biarritz green, with swales coming in from each side but not quite meeting in the middle. Perhaps the most memorable hole is the thirteenth (pictured on this issue’s cover). The stretch from ten to sixteen lies in the northeast segment of the course (on the other side of a dyke from the first, ninth, seventeenth and eighteenth) where the holes run broadly parallel to each other. The thirteenth, though, is nestled into a corner of the property. “Every time we came out here, we always loved this corner,” says Phillips. “It was obvious that this was going to be a beautiful place and we had to utilise it.” He created a huge waste area that stretches all the way up the length of the par-three hole and into a bunker that eats into the right side of the green. It’s a moment to pause before tackling the closing stretch. Sandy waste areas can be found between fairways too, along with fescue, gorse and heather, combining to give the feel of a native landscape upon which the golf course has been laid out. “Nature just extends through the whole course,” says Phillips. Bernardus has to figure among Europe’s best new layouts. And van der Wallen has created something special off the course, too, focusing on delivering a hospitality experience that is inspired by quality hotels and restaurants, rather than golf venues. “There are so many things I didn’t like about the traditional golf club experience,” says van der Wallen. “Like a barrier at the entry, where someone with a clipboard takes your name, and staff hiding behind a reception desk.” Upon entering the contemporary clubhouse building, guests are welcomed with coffee and conversation, given a course guide and encouraged to relax and make full use of the facilities. These include casual and fine dining restaurants, each serving wine from the owner’s California vineyard from which Bernardus takes its name. There is also a gym, and an outstanding practice area, with a three-hole reversible short course, multiple chipping and putting greens and a driving range. The range building includes covered teaching bays, indoor studios and offices, with restrooms and a full bar – all of which is set into a huge dune. To complete the full package of facilities, there is also an adjacent eight-room lodge with a pool and tennis court. As well as offering individual and corporate memberships, the club is fully accessible to visitors, who, for 150 euros, can spend all day as a member of the club and play as much golf as they like. “If their partner doesn’t play golf, they can come along free of charge and use the gym and all the other facilities,” says van der Wallen. Bernardus will soon take its place in the spotlight, having been selected to host the KLM Open on the European Tour from 2020 to 2022. Pay a visit before word gets out. GCA “Sandy waste areas can be found between fairways, along with fescue, gorse and heather, combining to give the feel of a native landscape upon which the golf course has been laid out” Photo: