European Golf Design - Vision E-Magazine Issue 2 - Spring 2018 - Page 9

Driving or, for that matter, taking the train from Geneva, along the shores of the famous lake, with towering mountains in every direction, and then up the switchback roads from Sierre to Crans Montana, one becomes increasingly sceptical that a golf course could actually be at the end of the journey, so steep are those mountain slopes. But, sure enough, all of a sudden things soften off onto a plateau and GC Crans-sur-Sierre reveals itself. The Club has been the host venue for the l’Open de Suisse since 1939, which became the European Masters in 1983 (with Omega as the title sponsor since 2002). Our involvement there has grown over the past six or seven years to the point where we’re now engaged in a programme of yearly upgrades to the course.

This spring’s workload will revolve around a new 6th green. The green sits in what can only be described as an appalling location to try to grow fine turf – it is surrounded by mature pine, with apartment buildings on three sides, inhibiting air circulation and ensuring the green surface receives virtually no direct sunlight, even in the height of summer. With no possibility of relocating the green, we had to look to technology to try to resolve the problem. With the assistance of Course Manager, Richard Barnes, alongside Julian Mooney and John Clarkin of Turfgrass Consultancy, as well as rebuilding the green complex, we’re installing a Sub Air system under the green, and a Turf Breeze fan to minimise as much as possible the impact of the lack of sunlight and improve the air flow. We’re also looking at installing UV lighting, either as a moveable rig (as used in stadia) or permanent installations, using those pesky trees as light stands.