European Golf Design - Vision E-Magazine Issue 2 - Spring 2018 - Page 21

All Roads Lead to Rome

As the final changes to the course at Le Golf National in preparation for this year’s Ryder Cup matches mature, we’re already looking ahead to the next European staging of the matches in 2022.

Having won the right to host the 2022 Ryder Cup matches back in November 2015, the host venue, Marco Simone Golf & Country Club, along with the Italian Golf Federation, commissioned us, with the assistance of the original designer of the course, Tommy Fazio, to prepare plans to upgrade the course and infrastructure, enhancing the playing challenge and spectator experience. The fruits of two years of planning have developed to the point where the construction contract is soon to be awarded with a view to work starting on the course in the next couple of months.

While we are well-used to preparing courses for tournament play, the sheer scale of the Ryder Cup requires even more thought. Consider some of these numbers:

Crowds in excess of 50,000 each day, along with up to 7,000 staff

Space for 10,000 hospitality covers

15,000 grandstand seats around the course

Parking for up to 15,000 cars (that’s about forty football pitches)

Bus terminals of up to 5 hectares (about seven football pitches)

Tented village of around 6 hectares (if you’re good at maths, you can figure out how many footy pitches that is!)

In effect, we are building a small town around and within the golf course, with all of the required infrastructure and support services, including medical, catering, communications and so on, for a one week period.

The other element to consider in planning the spectator experience is that, unlike any other event, on at least two of the three days of play, there are typically only four matches on the course, so what is already an unusually high number of spectators are crammed into relatively few holes.

With all of that in mind, plus the inevitable site specific issues of archaeology, vegetation, ecology and an existing membership that want to continue to play golf while the work is underway, the design work and logistical planning has taken more time than normal to complete, but complete it is and we’re almost ready to go. There will be an update on progress in future editions of Vision.