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European first for Kikuoka

Located around 15 kilometres from Luxembourg, the Kikouka Country Club now features a six hole compact course with fully contoured, synthetic sand filled greens and three synthetic tees per hole. Believed to be the first of its kind in Europe, the course was designed by British architect Steve Marnoch, and is due to open in early 2008.

The holes range from 65-95 metres, and the whole thing is situated in a former orchard within the Kikuoka complex. Once open, the club intends to add 'accent' lighting to enable the course to be viewed from the clubhouse, as well as for play to go on into the dusk.

Each hole has been designed to have different character. In brief, club manager John Pickford asked Marnoch to create a compacy course which would be played as a short course by the members, visitors and non-golfers but also act as a supplementary practice facility for the team of resident professionals.

As a result Marnoch designed the hazards and shaping to offer the full range of shots which one would expect when playing golf anywhere.

Most holes play through the former orchard so there are trees to contend with plus regular sand bunkers, mounding and roughs. On hole four there is a sand waste area where the player reaches the green over a timber walkway. The greens offer four or five good fixed pin positions on each hole to test the players, forcing them to play towards, near and over the hazards. The final hole plays from an elevated position to a well-guarded green over a feature stream, which has been landscaped with local rocks.

Marnoch says that building artificial greens has not restricted his ability to use interesting contours.

The course features shots to elevated greens and some from elevated tees to greens below. All of the greens have been contoured as natural grass greens in an attempt to provide a realistic playing environment. The contouring has be carefully monitored to make sure that the greens are not too fast to putt on. The system for the sand fill, designed and developed by Supatee Turf in conjunction with DuraGrass Companies, allows the green speed to be set, depending upon the amount of sand fill addedd and the amount of rolling of the synthetic fibres.

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