Martin Ebert explains the inspiration and perspiration involved in creating the Himalayas – including its all-new 5th hole.
“The team at Prince’s were great to work with because they had very clear ideas about the redesign. One of the key priorities was to raise the teeing areas so that you could get more extensive views across the dunes and the sea beyond.
“We studied the history of the course, looking at old photos and using aerial maps to get a feel for the way it was originally conceived. So the 1st fairway’s been restored to its original, wider form.
“The 5th is built on land that was predominantly flat before we started to shape the hole. The tee complex was raised by three metres. There are a lot of terrific greens at Prince’s, with excellent use of run off areas, so we wanted to produce something similar in that respect. The shapers did a great job blending it all into the general look and with rough vegetation around the edge. It’s worked really well.
“People don’t realise that the Postage Stamp at Troon is rarely used in the winter. It has a small green, so the traffic over the hole could easily damage the surface. This is why we’ve made the green on the 5th quite large with plenty of pin placements so footfall can be spread. Troon’s iconic short hole was an inspiration and there was always an intention to have it as the only hole played towards the ocean.
“People talk about the wetlands, but they were already there so all we’ve done is make them more of a feature. Enhancing or restoring some of the original hazards was one of the objectives. We’ve reinstated three bunkers that run along the dunes to the left side of the 9th hole and slightly increased the size of the double green that is now the 3rd and 8th. This is a feature that was clearly inspired by St Andrews.”
A larger green allows more pin placements and to spread footfall across the surface. The tee complexes have been raised by at least three metres, giving an elevated view of the English Channel beyond. In a nod to the site’s historical importance, the 5th is named ‘Bloody Point’ in reference to the great naval battle that took place in Sandwich in AD851 on the land where Prince’s now sits. With the pin tucked behind the bunker and a fast run-off area to the left, being able to stop the ball dead on the green will reap rewards.