GCNi Autumn 2003

DUBLIN, Ireland - Contour Golf are continuing to expand their influence in Ireland with the latest works at Grange GC here in Dublin. "This is an old established course that meanders through mature woodland," explained Contour MD, Ingrid Eichler. "It's actually right in the city but you wouldn't believe it as you look around." This leafy exclusivity added both kudos and pressure to Contour and architect Patrick Merrigan who commented, "This is a traditional and conservative course - something from the past really. Such a course makes me extremely careful as to what I can do; it's essential that I work within the club's brief and my own brief. I wanted the course to be enhanced, not changed - it will look like it has never been touched. I'm very pleased with it, Contour did a wonderful job."
James Braid's 1911 layout has stood the test of time well but the greens and tees were of traditional design and, more important, build resulting in a need to upgrade the specification. While so doing, the opportunity has been taken to redesign the green surrounds, enlarge the tees and upgrade the bunkering. "So far we have completed phase one of the programme," explained Eichler who continued, "This has involved nine greens and eight tees. I suppose that the most remarkable part of the job to date has been the speed and ease at which we have progressed; we started on June 25th this year and finished on September 21st. It went like clockwork and that is thanks to a tremendous amount of pre-planning and Patrick's insistence that the work was carried out in the summer months." Merrigan is in complete agreement with this appraisal as he explained, "It can all go terribly, terribly wrong in the winter when you are trying to work soil under the worst possible conditions. Clubs often think that it is best to go ahead in the winter when they are quiet but that is not true, always do the work when the grass is growing and the leaves are on the trees."
The first phase saw work carried out in the southwest corner of the site and the disruption to play was minimal due the extra six holes that Grange had built some seven years ago. Thus a full 18-hole golf course was available for play throughout the remodel process.
Grange Golf Club is the latest in a line of works from Contour Golf in Ireland that include the rebuild of Irish Open venue Fota Island.