The new Faldo Design signature course at IMG Prestige venue Rumanza Golf & Country Club in Pakistan officially opened for play last weekend following an unveiling ceremony attended by Sir Nick Faldo and a trio of leading European tour stars.
Tour pros Rafa Cabrero-Bello, Charley Hull and Graeme McDowell joined Sir Nick to take part in the Rumanza Inaugural, an 18-hole Pro-Am event held on February 26.
In addition to the 18-hole championship course, Rumanza Golf & Country Club, which is part of a new 9,000-acre community developed by the Defence Housing Authority of Multan, will also have a six-hole, par-three layout and a state-of-the-art golf academy with a double-ended driving range.
The course, which is over 7,500 yards from the back tees, has three distinct sections, characterised by desert, trees and water. The latter revolves around a water storage lake at the centre of the course.
Speaking ahead of the course opening, Sir Nick said: “This is a landmark moment for Faldo Design and a landmark moment for golf in Pakistan. We are truly honoured to be creating our first Sir Nick Faldo Signature course in Pakistan and feel a great responsibility for taking full advantage of this parcel of land which, right from the outset, we knew had potential to become a great golf course.
“The existing site was flat agricultural land, featuring mango and orange trees, with cereal crops too. We were keen to retain an identity for the site, so we have preserved certain areas of fruit trees and using them as a feature for specific parts of the course. The site was also dotted with interesting farm dwellings and original earth walling, some of which have been retained as part of the course design to preserve the local character. We have also been careful to preserve the views of the desert, the woodlands and the wetlands to ensure that the course works in the harmony with the golf course.”
Sir Nick added: ”We hope that Rumanza, and its superb facilities, including the new Performance Academy, can serve as a source of inspiration for a new generation of golfers in Pakistan, helping to grow the game in what remains a relatively untapped market for the sport, as well as providing an incentive for golfers from all over the world to add Rumanza to their bucket list of courses to play. I will certainly be looking to stage some of my Faldo Series events here, and it surely won’t be too long before the Asian Tour and the DP World Tour see it as a potential future venue to host their tournaments.
Andy Haggar, lead architect at Faldo Design, said: “The course should challenge the top players from the back tees, but be eminently playable for all other standards of golfer from the other tees. The forward tees will make the course short enough for beginners and juniors. Fairways are quite generous to help golfers keep the ball in play, whilst at the same time, the shaping of the fairways and placement of the hazards challenge the better players to put the ball in the right place.
“The greens are designed within the entire strategy of the hole they belong to. Often the strategy of the hole is created with the green’s design as the starting point. Here, each green features a range of pin placements that will be either hard, medium or easy. There is noticeable movement in the greens, but the surface areas are large enough to accommodate that movement. As with the fairways, it is about being in the right place on the green to give yourself the best chance of a good score.”
“On the playing side, we wanted to create an interesting, strategic and memorable golfing experience,” said Haggar. “Once we had scraped off the top surface of material on this very flat site, we found pure sand. That moved us towards creating something of an inland links-style golf course. Alongside some links-like shaping, revetted bunkers seemed the obvious choice. The bunkers are revetted in traditional style using EcoBunker, with turf rolled down over the edge. We also used EcoBunker to create a revetted edge to certain sections of the waste areas adjacent to the fairways, which provides another nice feature of the course, and which complements the bunkering.”
“The closing three holes are spectacular,” added Haggar. “They play around a large lake that features a peninsula, where we have retained mango trees. Also, because of the peninsula, it will mean that the extent of the lake is only revealed as you play the holes around it. This means you won’t see the lake alongside the par-four 18th until you walk off the par-three 17th green and stand on the final tee. It will certainly be impressive and memorable.”