Olympic golf course architect Gil Hanse appointed for Royal Sydney makeover

One of Australia’s most iconic golf courses is set for a major redesign.

Royal Sydney Golf Club is set for a golf course makeover and Olympic golf course designer Gil Hanse has been appointed as the lead architect to complete the job.

Hanse has become one of modern golf’s most respected golf course designers who is most well-known for his design of Castle Stuart golf course in Scotland which sits firmly in the lists of the world’s best golf courses and the changes to the Trump Doral Resort courses.

Hanse’s design team (Hanse Golf Course Design) have also played a large role in the restoration of Merion , Palmetto and Winged Foot golf club’s to name a few.

Prior to finalising the Olympic golf course design in Rio, Hanse toured Melbourne’s sandbelt golf courses for inspiration and by all reports he has managed to create a wonderfully strategic golf course on a site that was hardly the best place to build a golf course.

Hanse’s appointment comes not long after Concord Golf Club in Sydney announced that fellow American course architect Tom Doak was to oversee their redesign project slated to begin in late 2017.

Royal Sydney is set to host the Australian Open in November (17 – 20) and the site will most likely be developed in the first half of 2017.

With the addition of some incredible golf courses across Australia in the past 15 years, Royal Sydney has slipped down the lists of Australia’s best golf courses. And while golf course rankings are far from a perfect indicator of the quality of a golf course, most golfers would agree that Royal Sydney has lost its lustre, suffering from poor drainage and a narrow, unimaginative design.

Interestingly, we wonder if this design can be traced back to the comments from American golf legend Gene Sarazen who had this to say about Australian golf courses in an article published in 1934 while touring the country playing in exhibition matches:

“I would like to stress the point that your golf would be improved if you narrowed the fairways from the tee. The fairways are far too open. Practically every course is at fault here”

Just goes to show that good golfers don’t always make good golf course designers.

Hanse will have his hands full at Royal Sydney but without doubt, the golf course will be better for his appointment.

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