Hardelot Les Pins is a beautiful links course on the French coast south of Calais that was designed in 1930 by the famous English golf architect Tom Simpson. The course over time had become more and more wooded, and was feeling very tight in places when we and our French partner Patrice Boissonnas started work on the course in late 2012.
Our remit from the owner of Hardelot, Open Golf, was to do what we felt necessary to restore the course back to its former grandeur. The initial area we focussed on were green extensions and where possible the widening of the fairways. Next we restored the original sand faces, rough edges and scale of the bunkers, thereby bringing back the visual drama the course had somewhat lost over time.
By redesigning the irrigation and by focussing on the right type of grasses we also started down the path towards getting fast and firm conditions throughout the year. This was further enhanced by the removal of vegetation close to greens and tees. Also a number of tees were restored from the existing runway sizes back to their original indivual smaller sizes. Finally we also started bringing more sand texture back around the holes, thereby reminding players of the dunes environment they are playing in.
So far the work completed has been the front nine holes, and in the winter of 2013-14 we will be working hard to do the same on the back nine of Hardelot Les Pins.