Lobb & Partners
golf course architects


The LOBB + PARTNERS eNewsletter – Spring 2018


LOBB + PARTNERS golf course architects
Lobb + Partners eNewsletter – Spring 2018
This morning we lost a great man in Peter William Thomson. He was a special business partner, a mentor and a very dear friend who passed away at home with his family around him. R.I.P Peter Thomson - Business Partner, Mentor, Friend (June 18) >>

Unpredictability is part of life when you are a golf course architect. Because we are small businesses - mostly just one or two man bands - working on large, sometimes enormous projects, we simply have to expect that our working lives will be either crazy or quiet. When one project either happening or not can be the difference between a bad year and a great one, there's just no other option.

For Lobb + Partners, recently, I'm happy to say that we have mostly been on the right side of the ledger recently, thanks to our great clients and the wonderful projects we are working on with them. We don't take anything for granted, of course - the nature of our business is that it can swing through 180 degrees easily and rapidly - but we just keep working as hard as we can to deliver the best possible results to our projects and for our clients.

Tim Lobb

Ankara course under construction

The new eighteen hole course in the Turkish capital, Ankara, that we announced in the last newsletter, is now in full construction, and Tim is working flat out to keep up with the build! The first full-sized golf course in the Ankara region, it is being developed by Regnum, and it is the third course that Tim has built for Regnum boss Fikret Ozturk. Contractor Naki Evandr of GolfTek is handling the build - the fifth time that he and Tim have worked together.

"The site is 200 hectares and slopes towards the city, with 70m of fall from one side to the other. In the distance you can see Ankara city, and the property is bounded by mountains," says Tim. "Ankara is growing rapidly, in the direction of our site, and so both the golf course and the associated housing estate, which has been masterplanned by my old friend Adam Crozier of Hatch, should be excellent propositions."

L-R, Tim with Naki and Cengiz of Golftek discussing works to 11th hole at new Ankara 18 holer.

Uniquely for Turkey, the Ankara course will have cool season grasses. "We'll definitely have fescue roughs, and I want to incorporate some random shaping," says Tim. "There are only a couple of trees on the entire property - it has a prairie-type feel. I've tried to restrict the uphill holes. Obviously, you have to climb, but I don't like holes that just go straight uphill. Some of the standouts will be the third, a downhill par five with the city of Ankara in the distance, and the par four fourteenth, which is being shaped now, and plays over a natural valley."

You can visit the Ankara project page here >>

Comprehensive refresh for The Springs

A major upgrade of The Springs golf course is underway by Brian Huggett, the course's original designer, in association with golf architect Tim Lobb of Lobb + Partners.

The Springs is part of Darwin Escapes, one of the fastest-growing leisure brands in the UK. Darwin now has twenty locations across the UK, offering a wide variety of self-catering holiday accommodation, from luxury lodges to quirky treehouses, along with an extensive range of leisure activities. The Springs, acquired in July 2017, is the group's second golf course, joining the Kilnwick Percy Resort in East Yorkshire, bought in April of the same year.

Onsite at The Springs GC with Brian Huggett and owners Lindsey and Anthony Esse of Darwin Escapes

After acquiring the course, Darwin quickly made contact with original designer Brian Huggett, who suggested involving Lobb + Partners. "I have known Tim for a long time and I recognise him as one of this country's best golf architects," said Huggett. "Fundamentally, the routing of the course is very sound, but as with many courses of that vintage, the bunkering is now in many cases out of play. The new owners want to lift the overall standard of the course and the golf offering - they are investing heavily in the clubhouse as well as the course. We are going to bring the course right up to date, using Blinder bunker liner and other modern construction techniques, along with contractor Profusion Environmental."

Lobb said: "The Springs is right next to the Thames and is a beautiful layout by Brian. With a little bit of careful work to bring the course up to the level of its surroundings, it will be a very successful golf resort. In addition to bunker work, we are adding a number of ladies' tees, and doing improvements to the lakes to reinstate some of the walling. For example, on the seventeenth hole, a short par four, we plan to build a retaining wall in the lake and bring the water a little closer to the green. Essentially, we are pushing the lake away from the centre line, and attempting to make the hole more enticing."

You can visit The Springs Golf Club project page here >>

EIGCA meeting a success

Tim recently attended the annual meeting and conference of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects, of which he is a senior member - and now a member of the organsation's governing Council. This year's event was held in the ancient Belgian city of Bruges, famous for its canals, its medieval buildings and its brewing heritage. Which made Tim's job - as Partner Liaison Office - easier than it might otherwise be!

"We held the Partner's Dinner in a historic brewery," he explains. "It was quite remarkable, especially for those who hadn't been to Bruges before. We had a tour of the brewery, a tutored tasting of some of the beers, and then dinner. Very special."

The meeting and conference itself, he reports, went well. "There were around 100 people there, and the speakers were universally excellent," he says. "There was a big focus on sustainable design and management, which certainly helped reinforce my own thinking on the long term effects of our work, once we have left the site."

Tim Lobb with EIGCA President Ross McMurray at the Partners Dinner in Bruges

Blackmoor appoints Lobb + Partners for course review

The historic Blackmoor Golf Club in Hampshire, southern England, has appointed Lobb + Partners to conduct a course review and advise particularly on its bunkering.

Blackmoor, which originally opened in 1913, was designed by the great architect Harry Colt, at the height of his pre-WW1 powers - at around the same time he worked at Blackmoor, he was designing St George's Hill, Pine Valley, Puerto da Hierro in Madrid and the Eden course at St Andrews. Interestingly though, the course had only twelve holes at this time - Colt returned after the war and completed the full eighteen holes, which opened in 1924.

LOBB + PARTNERS recently appointed to the stunning Colt classic - Blackmoor GC

"It's still easy to see Colt's genius at Blackmoor, from the typical greens on plateaus, mostly natural, to the excellence of the par threes, to the characteristic diagonal echelon of bunkers that cross the tenth hole," says Tim. "But, as with virtually every course of this vintage, the bunker shapes have lost a lot of their artistry, the greens have shrunk and the vegetation has changed. We look forward to getting to work to help the club deal with these issues."

You can visit the Blackmoor Golf Club project page here >>

Twenty years in England

2018 marks the twentieth anniversary of Tim's arrival in the UK. It is, though, 22 years since he left his native Australia - he spent the intervening two years in Malaysia, working for golf architect Ted Parslow.

Tim returns to Melbourne regularly to see his family, but an additional benefit of these trips (most recently in the early spring) is that it allows him to refresh his memory of the unique and brilliant golf offering to be found in the city, especially on the renowned Sandbelt.

Some of the stunning bunkering at Yarra Yarra GC in the famed Melbourne sandbelt

"While I was in Melbourne, I played golf at Yarra Yarra, with my Dad, and the club GM gave us a tour of the course renovation works that are moving forward under Tom Doak and his team," he says. "I think Melbourne golf is a close cousin of the heathland courses we have here in the UK - the native vegetation is different, but it plays a very similar role, and the courses are essentially very natural. But the Australian treatment of bunkers - the way they cut deeply into the greens - is unique, and it is at the heart of the appeal of those courses."

Who are we?

LOBB + PARTNERS is a multi discipline practice providing comprehensive golf development services for golf course design, existing course renovation/ restoration, master planning, architecture and landscape architecture.

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