The European Tour’s leading players will encounter a new-look West Course for this year’s BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth Club, and the team behind the multi-million pound revamp have given the first glimpse into what the professionals can expect in May.
Ernie Els Design, spearheaded by the South African four-time Major winner, and renowned consultants European Golf Design led the extensive renovation programme over the past nine months, working closely with an advisory team which included Thomas Bjørn, Paul McGinley and David Jones, who represented the views of the Tour players, and Wentworth’s Director of Golf Courses & Grounds, Kenny Mackay.
The comprehensive changes to the famous West Course – home to the BMW PGA Championship since 1984 - were shaped by the feedback given to Bjørn and McGinley by current European Tour players, with the improvements focusing on the greens and bunkers.
All 18 greens were stripped of the old turf and re-seeded with a new creeping bent, improving both the appearance and playability of the putting surfaces, while four greens – on the eight, 11th, 14th and 16th holes – were completely rebuilt and five greens – on the third, fourth, fifth, 12th and 15th holes – were partially rebuilt. A sub-air system was also installed on all greens to help make them firmer and faster, and new irrigation and drainage was also introduced.
Furthermore, all bunkers were redesigned and reconstructed, with 29 bunkers completely removed from play, helping to more closely realign the course with Harry Colt’s original vision, whilst also being cognisant of the demands of the modern game.
Els said: “It’s been a real team effort. It’s been hard work, but it’s been a wonderful experience. I think the product you’ll see this time will be something the players will really enjoy. The guys will have smiles on their faces again. Their bad shots will get punished, but not as badly as before.''
Work began eight days after Englishman Chris Wood won the 2016 BMW PGA Championship and the renovation programme is due to be fully completed towards the end of April in time for this year’s Championship, which launches the European Tour’s new Rolex Series from May 25-28.
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