By Kent Gray
A course renovation in Switzerland wouldn’t normally register on our radar but when we discovered Harradine Golf were involved, well, we suddenly took a really keen interest in the media release announcing the project.
We could tell you it was because of the cattle-infused imagery of Arosa Golf Course that accompanied the release, stunning as it is. There’s also the link with all the Middle East courses the Dubai-based company have been involved in, the new 9-holer at the Al Barari residential development off Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Road (the 311) in Dubai, the latest among them.
But lets be honest – we perked up because any press release from Harradine Golf is worth its weight in quotable gold courtesy of principal designer Peter Harradine. The colourful character doesn’t disappoint as he surveys Arosa which lies at 1850 meters above sea level.
“This course is a true Alpine layout and not for the faint hearted,” he starts. “Only a few years ago the first task of the greenkeeper was to remove the cow dung from the fairways as one of the contractual obligations of the club was to let the cows graze at night. In fact cows still graze in the rough.”
We love it. And Harrdine’s trademark, never ever honey-coated honesty.
“Environmentalists should take this course as an example instead of always citing Augusta and other manicured examples. Maybe it is because it is extremely environmentally friendly that we received the building permits in such an incredibly short time [the application was made in January and received in April].
“This must be an absolute record for Switzerland as it usually takes years for such permits to be released, especially due to the environmental lobby which always has many and mostly incredible objections to anything that is connected to golf courses.”
The renovation has a special significance for the Harradine family with the original nine holes designed and built (and relatively untouched since) by Don Harradine, Peter’s father, in 1945.
Peter Harradine designed the second nine in 2001 and supervised the construction the following year.
The approved modernisation is set to start in September, the end of the Swiss golfing season. The estimated re-opening date is September next year.
We can’t wait for the new pictures. And more of refreshing honesty from the Middle East game’s most interesting