Nick Faldo's First Golf Course in Pakistan
Sir Nick Faldo’s first signature course in Pakistan
Ground was broken on Sir Nick Faldo’s first signature championship course – Rumanza – in Pakistan at the end of last year. Golf World caught up with the six-time major winner to talk about the unique challenges and opportunities of crafting a course for such a golf-young country.
GW: Breaking into new territories for Faldo Design in Pakistan, what is it about this project that excites you?
Sir Nick: Pakistan is a completely different area, I never thought that when I got involved in the business, I would be going to countries like Pakistan. We have Laguna Golf Lang Co in Vietnam, Faldo Design in Cambodia, now Pakistan, where we could build a real tournament golf course and add some attraction to golf, not only in Pakistan, but also across the region itself. There’s a great opportunity to do something special as the course could easily host tournament golf once it’s built.
GW: Summarise your goals for the project and how does it fit your golf course design philosophy?
Sir Nick: My goals are the same for each project. We have a piece of land that’s dead flat, so we must create something, which requires a lot of imagination. My first goal would be bringing golf into a new nation, therefore the design has to be enjoyable; people have to be fascinated and interested, so I have got to create something that is visually very pleasing to the eye. Giving the golfers who want to play the course a wow factor, viewing it as visually strong and challenging to play. There are also Deras on the golf course, which are mud wall villages, and that’s going to be a theme. Around them we can create some rough looking areas that you can play across. It’s the capital of the mangos in the world, so there are many mango trees. Various other things are needed such as water and dirt to create lakes. I never go to project with a preconceived idea, I wait until I am on site to be inspired by my surroundings and what’s there naturally. Because there is only four days of rain, the course must play hard and fast which means we must make sure we are using the right grass. Putting all those components together forms a theme in my mind of how I visualise the execution of golf shots, which is what I translate into my architectural thought processes.
GW: Strategy and memorability are two words that you associate a lot in connection to Faldo Design, how will the golf course come towards forming those concepts?
Sir Nick: Memorability is important because if you play a golf course, sit in the bar afterwards and can recall the shots you’ve played and clearly remember each hole and its design features, it means you’ve had a memorable round of golf. And this is exactly what we want. We can bring strategy into the design of the golf course through contours, bunker positioning and because it will be firm and fast running, just a few facets of design requiring each golfer to plan their shots, or they will end up in the wrong place. Then the golf course will be a difficult challenge, but often we don’t want too tough a test because then it doesn’t become fun, so there’s a fine balance to strike.
GW: What is the importance of environmentally friendly components and sustainability in your creations? Are there any measures that you are taking?
Sir Nick: GEO is involved with this project; they are an environmental group. The environment is very important to us which is why we are working with GEO to consult us how best to preserve the environment and promote sustainability. Also, another goal for us it to attract the wildlife back to the golf course.
GW: You spoke about taking inspiration from local culture in general, is there any element taking inspiration from the local culture and environment for Faldo Design.
Sir Nick: Yes, one of the things I really enjoy is being on the ground. Being inspired by local culture that is there naturally. We currently have a project in Cambodia, and it’s surrounded by building ruins, which we incorporated into the design of the golf course. The scale of your project must fit the scale of your surroundings. And that is very important to me and the Faldo Design team.