SKJOLDENÆSHOLM, Denmark, -- A new era in Danish golf course architecture dawned last week with the formal unveiling of this nation’s first Robert Trent Jones II (RTJ II) design at the Skjoldenæsholm Golf Center. The completion of the Trent Jones Jr. Course, about 30 miles from Copenhagen, is the realization of RTJ II’s objective to design a championship golf course that showcases the attractive variations of Denmark’s native landscape.
"Wherever we’ve been given the opportunity to introduce new golf courses around the globe we started our work with a commitment to sustainable design and development," said Bruce Charlton, president and chief design officer for RTJ II. “Skjoldenæsholm is the result of our experience designing more than 240 golf courses worldwide, matched with our ability to understand a specific geographical area.”
Local experts agree. Soren Clemmensen, President of the Danish Golf Union, had this to say about the course. “The contours of the landscape have been used in optimal and poetic ways. In my opinion, Skjoldenæsholm is the most challenging course in Denmark. I was pleasantly impressed.”
The pioneering architects of RTJ II have created an impressive legacy of “firsts,” including designing the Moscow Country Club, the first 18-hole golf course in Russia (1994). The RTJ II design team also introduced paspalum turfgrass in Spain, at Mallorca’s Alcanada Golf Club. The company further enhanced its global reputation with numerous course designs in Sweden and Norway prior to expanding into Denmark. Miklagard, in Oslo, Norway, which opened in 2002, was the first world-class golf resort in Scandinavia. RTJ II’s first course in Finland was Ruuhikoski, in Nurmo (1992), followed by Norway’s Bjaavann Golfklubb, in Kristiansand (2002). RTJ II debuted in Sweden near Stockholm with Bro Hof Slott Golf Club (2006), which will host the 2009 Scandinavian Masters Championship. RTJ II was also the first firm in Sweden to design greens with underground ventilation systems and the first to call for the use of creeping bent grass on fairways in the Stockholm region.
The Trent Jones Jr. Course at Skjoldenæsholm
The new layout is the first in Denmark to provide five sets of tees, which deviates from earlier courses that traditionally offered one teeing ground for men and one for women. With yardages on the par-72 course ranging from 4,822 to 6,523 meters, the versatile Skjoldenæsholm is ideal for passionate golfers of all playing levels.
Framed by forests, the open layout routes along former farmland where cornfields once dominated the rural landscape. The RTJ II design joins the Old Course at Skjoldenæsholm Golf Center (Otto Bojesen, 1992) to create a 36-hole complex, complete with a newly designed practice facility. Defined by its rolling terrain and fescue grasses the new Skjoldenæsholm layout is a classic RTJ II test of strategy and adaptability.
“This golf course is about position,” Bruce Charlton remarked. “Rather than pulling out a driver on every par four, golfers will find that at times an iron will do the trick. Every time you play the golf course, you will learn that there always is a new and different way to play a hole.” Options off the tee are abundant and the “risk-reward” theme is evident early and often. For example, on the par-5 second hole— a dogleg right around a large lake— reaching the green in two requires carrying a drive over four fairway bunkers on the right and flirting with the water’s edge.
While expressing Jones’ visionary philosophy of “listening-to-the-land,” the golf course also adheres to the RTJ II tenet of enhancing the natural terrain. The selection of fescue grass, for example, not only provides a more natural and suitable match for Skjoldenæsholm than other grasses, but also requires less water and fertilizer, making the golf course more environmentally friendly.
“Our declared goal was to create a protected sanctuary that ensures an effective interaction with people who appreciate the outstanding Danish landscape,” Charlton said. “We are convinced that our care and respect for the surroundings are reflected in the world-class golf experience.”
The Trent Jones Jr. Course is adjacent to the historic Skjoldenæsholm Tramway Museum, which maintains classic Danish trams in operation on two track lines that extend along the third, fourth and fifth holes.
About RTJ II
RTJ II is the preeminent golf design firm worldwide. Trustees of a great tradition of golf course architecture, RTJ II is committed to working in harmony with nature to craft the best golf course possible on each unique site. The RTJ II design team has experience in every aspect of golf course development and the ability to provide support and expertise from conception through completion of any project. The firm is based in Palo Alto, Calif., and has satellite offices throughout the world. For additional information, contact the firm at 1+ 650-475-0329 or visit www.rtj2.com .