The Evolution of a green complex

Before I got into the design business, and during those days I was out on the green, I often wondered what a hole and even a green site might have looked like before it was zoned as ‘golf’. Back then I thought it would be cool to see a progression over time.

With this in mind, and for all those budding architects out there, I thought I would put together a predominantly picture driven essay showing the progression from design through construction of the 7th hole / green site at Laguna Lang Co – a Faldo Design golf course – where I was lead Golf Architect.

Identifying the hole and green site is the first port of call. Out in the jungles of Vietnam this can be a daunting task with numerous obstacles – fun and not so fun. Hole 7 was in fact the lowest point on site so very wet – much of it at water level. Sir Nick and I had already identified a magic green site for 8 (and the rest of the holes in the dunes) as well as Hole 6 (nestled alongside the mountain with large boulders bounding the hole and green site) so in essence 7 would be somewhat of a connector hole. Funny when I look back now this hole turned out so much better than just a connection.

Now…..the hole may not have had the natural features to match 6 or 8 but we were darn well going to knock some life into this particular stretch of land to make it good. I enjoy visting Tillinghast golf courses and I agree with many of his thoughts/beliefs on golf design so it should come as no surprise me mentioning another one of his timeless quotes …’Often it is necessary to get from one section to another over ground which is not suited to the easiest construction, but that troublesome hole must be made to stand right up in meeting with the others, and if it has not got anything about it that might make it respectable, it has got to have quality knocked into it until it can hold its head up in polite society’

Lets start the picture essay.

VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

The area where Hole 7 is located – before clearance of course


Hole 7 on paper – a short 4.


Hole 7 progression

We would prepare the Green design concept in the office and fine tune it on site

7 TP March 2011

Site 85% Cleared


Hole 7 June 2011 (2)

Earthworks in progress. We would have to raise the land by approx 2m across the hole given the high water table. By raising the level it would also give us an opportunity to create positive fall which would help with the surface and subsurface drainage

Hole 7 Aug 2011 (2)

The green site once the earthworks was completed.


Green sub base shaped…flat pipe installed and gravel carpet layed. Features rough shaped

Hole 7 April 2012

Rootzone installed and green complex finished shaped


Green (TifEagle) and Fairway (Zoysia Matrella) grassed.


Bunker detailing in progress. Preparing edges and planting local mondo grass. The small detail always makes a big difference.

Hole 7 Green

We are getting there…picture by photographer Richard Castka

and there she is in play…

Laguna Lang Co Golf Club

Picture by Richard Catska

Laguna Lang Co Golf Club

Picture by Richard Catska

Laguna Lang Co Golf Club

Picture by Richard Catska

Big thanks must go to Stuart Donald for helping create the bunker look. His attention to detail was and still is superb (always remember the devil is in the detail). Mark Lawson for the wonderful work on the detailed feature shaping. Brian Smith and his team of shapers, who worked tirelessly on the green and fairway shaping . Jason Batterham for continuing to maintain this look and finally a big thank you must go out to the locals -in particularly the landscape crew (under the guidance of Stuart Donald)……you would never know but not one of the landscape crew knew what a bunker looked like at the start of the exercise.

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