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Preparing France’s ‘World-Class’ Course for Ryder Cup 20187 min read

Posted on: 4th Apr 2012

‘A very different project to Celtic Manor’ EGD

egd_logo_187Course design work to prepare the venue of The 2018 Ryder Cup, Le Golf National, Paris, for one of the world biggest sporting events, has begun. The European Tour Destination’s Albatross Course is benefiting from the expertise of European Golf Design (EGD) whose senior design team is liaising with the European Tour and the French Golf Federation as planning commences.

However, as Le Golf National is in regular use on the European Tour, the main challenge facing the designers relates more to the scale of the event and the consequential increase in footfall rather than re-modelling what is already a world-class course

EGD was widely praised for producing the Celtic Manor Resort’s Twenty Ten Course, which enabled the 2010 Ryder Cup to be completed despite extraordinary rainfall, is now assessing master plans for the golf course as well as the logistics and facilities required to make the venue a global sporting arena.

Ross McMurray, Designer of the Twenty Ten Course, said: “There are many aspects to the course that golfers, professional and amateur, really enjoy, so we don’t wish to alter its popular appeal and the overall experience. However, there are a number of bunkers that will need to be moved for strategic reasons, because they are no longer in play for the longer hitters, while others will be upgraded.

“Some tees may also be placed in more interesting positions, and the Ryder Cup will demand a greater variety of flag positions than the existing greens currently offer.”

egd_senior_design_team_at_le_golf_nationalJeremy Slessor, Managing Director of European Golf Design said: “Le Golf National is a very different project compared with Celtic Manor, but the experience that we gained in Wales will be crucial as we embark on delivering another Ryder Cup venue. Planning a course for a Ryder Cup is quite unlike typical tour competitions as the vast crowds only have a limited amount of golf to follow.

“Put simply, it’s a case of forecasting what might occur and finding the best solution. For example, the Alstom Open de France is played in summer when it’s less likely to rain. However, given that the Ryder Cup will be held in September, we need to ensure that the drainage system is up to coping with more substantial rainfall – something we were insistent on at The Celtic Manor Resort.”

The Alstom Open de France has been hosted at Le Golf National on 18 occasions since 1991 and is a popular event in The European Tour schedule, boasting many former Ryder Cup stalwarts as past champions including, Nick Faldo, Colin Montgomerie, Sam Torrance and 2012 European Ryder Cup Team captain, José María Olazábal.

15th_green_at_le_golf_nationalEGD, which is the golf course design company of The European Tour and IMG, is now aiming to make it an iconic course and an historic Ryder Cup venue.

It seems that the venues get better and better with every passing event and European Golf Design will be invaluable in preparing Le Golf National for the world’s media, the vast crowds and of course, the best players from America and Europe.”

From the early days Hubert and the French Golf Federation have pursued the ambition for the Golf National to become a Ryder Cup venue. It is now a reality, however a great deal of work remains, if we want this to become a dream come true”.

For more information:  www.egd.com

Scot Stuart Wilson is Europe’s Junior Ryder Cup Captain 2012

Highly-experienced Scot, Stuart Wilson, has been named the Captain of the European team for this year’s Ryder Cup Junior Match at Olympia Fields, Illinois, USA on September 24-25 shortly before the main event at nearby  Medinah Country Club.

Junior ryder cup captainLike its senior counterpart, the Junior Ryder Cup features teams from Europe and the United States, but here each team comprises six girls and six boys. Previous competitors include Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlroy, Italian teenager Matteo Manassero, Solheim Cup player Suzann Pettersen and Hunter Mahan, the 2012 WGC-Accenture World Match Play champion.

Wilson, 34, who won the Silver Medal as the leading amateur at The Open Championship in 2004, takes over from Austrian Gary Stangl and will be assisted by Kristin Gunhildrud. Wilson will also take charge for the 2014 match, which will be held in Scotland.

He has an impressive CV as an amateur, participating in the Walker Cup in 2003, the Bonallack Trophy in 2002 and 2004, the St Andrews Trophy and the Eisenhower Trophy in 2004, and the European Team Championship in 2003. He was also British Amateur Champion in 2004, won the Lytham Trophy in 2003 and represented Scotland between 2000 and 2005. He captained the Scottish Boys’ team in 2010 and 2011.

“I am thrilled to be appointed as the Ryder Cup Junior Match Captain and delighted to have Kristin as Assistant Captain,” said Wilson. “Hopefully I can bring my years of experience as both a player and captain in a team environment to pass on to the juniors selected.

“This format of match play golf has always been my favourite and one that has given me successful moments in my golfing life and created many great friendships and memories. I look forward to working with all involved and watching the results closely over the next few months and to build towards a team that will have a good chance of winning in America.

“I hope that the juniors involved will get as much from their golf as I have had in the past.”

Assistant Captain Gunhildrud, from Norway, has extensive experience working with young people – particularly girls – in golf. She founded the Tinius Cup, a tournament where Norwegian girls aged 13-16 take on a similar team from Sweden, and also set up Knøttegolf, a special programme to introduce children under the age of 12 to the sport.

She has won the gold medal for the Ladies Team in the 1998 Norwegian Championship, and the bronze medal in both the following two years. She has been involved with the Norwegian Golf Federation since 1995, and captained the European team which took on Great Britain and Ireland in the Vagliano Trophy last year.“It’s an honour to be appointed the Assistant Captain for the Ryder Cup Junior Match,” she said. “I hope I can bring my experience with girls to this team. And I’m looking forward to working with Stuart as he has great experience as a match play specialist.

“The most important thing for the team is to have fun, both on and off the golf course. I think if you are in good mood you play much better. So I hope I can help with that too. I’m looking forward to meeting all the wonderful juniors and we are going to give America some exciting matches.”

Scottish Sport Minister Shona Robison welcomed Wilson’s appointment, saying: “I am delighted that Stuart Wilson has been appointed as Captain for both the 2012 and 2014 Ryder Cup Junior Match. This is a significant achievement and a well-deserved reward for the hard work and dedication Stuart has already given to the game of golf.

“I look forward to watching Stuart and his team as they take on the USA at Olympia Fields in September and hope that they manage to reverse the result from Gleneagles in 2010. As the first Scot to receive this accolade, it would be fitting for Stuart to take the trophy home, especially as the 2014 event is returning to Scotland.”

The Ryder Cup Junior Match celebrates the progress and hard work taking place at the grass roots level of golf, which helps talented young players develop into national team amateurs and some even to The Ryder Cup itself. In the PGA and PGAs of Europe, golf has a much envied network of expert coaches who, together with golf club volunteers and national governing bodies, help and guide young golfers towards achieving their full potential.

European Tour www.europeantour.com