Golf Course

Danie Obermeyer explains how he designed Heron Banks Golf Course

Successful golf course design is site specific and an astute designer utilises the topography of the site. This implies that the original contours of the site should be used as much as possible to its optimum potential avoiding “fighting” the contours. One of my main design principles is to look at the natural drainage of the site, which to a large extent will determine the type of golf course I envisage. The Vaal River runs along the northern boundary of the site at Heron Banks. Immediate to the south side of the Vaal River were natural wetlands (in some areas up to 150 meters wide) created over many years of the river flooding its banks. In contrast to the latter, the southern side of the terrain was distinctly different and more like a typical Highveld terrain. It was clear that year and years of rain had moulded the site to create it into quite a contrast. Further it was clear that at some point in time the flooding of the Vaal River along the northern side of the site became controlled this is evident from the natural Highveld vegetation re- establishing itself immediately adjacent to the river.

With the above in mind the philosophy was to keep these “natural” features intact and to design nine holes within the wetlands area and the other nine holes on the more typical Highveld vegetative area. To keep a central theme many wetlands areas were incorporated in the southern side (more Highveld conditions like), in particular those areas where the summer floods from outside the property had an impact on the storm water movement is area, which was evident on site.

The inward nine holes as well as the outward nine were designed so that the flow of the holes displayed a typical clock-wise and anti-clockwise flow optimising wind and weather conditions placing a premium on a variety of shot values for the course. The unique bunkering style of the Designer was incorporated into the course to optimise course management and a variety of options when playing the golf course.