Celtic Manor greenkeeper wins golf course design competition

Published:

The Golf Club, available on PC, PS4, and Xbox One, allows you to create photo-realistic courses of your dreams. In our November issue (327) we asked you to show off your design skills and from hundreds of fantastic entries, Mark Davies’ Three Cliffs Bay stood out for its spectacular scenery and all-or-nothing cliffside drama. A greenkeeper at Celtic Manor for 10 years, Mark is particularly proud of his 8th and 16th holes. He wins a fourball at The London Club in Kent for his winning course. 

Where did you get the inspiration for Three Cliffs Bay?
Last summer I had the privilege of playing Pennard, a course I had longed to play for a while. As good as Pennard is, and it’s a real unpolished gem, your gaze can’t be prised away from Three Cliffs Bay, the beach it sits above. I remember going there as kids and my father always saying it was the most beautiful place on earth. He had never ventured further from South Wales than Brean Sands, but I can see now why I thought that. Basically, I wanted to create a course somewhere in Wales and used Three Cliffs. I nearly chose the Rolling Dunes of Merthyr Mawr. I got my wife’s funny looks to thank for not doing so.

What's your favourite hole on the course?
The Par three eighth, and sixteen. I don’t think health and safety would allow it nowadays by I wanted fairway then cliff, to feel as if you were playing on the edge of the sea cliffs.

Do you have an interest in course design?
I have an interest in all things golf. I have worked as a greenkeeper at the Celtic Manor for over ten years and it is a vocation; I am even writing a book on it. For years I have played course design games, a lot of us have and The Golf Club is what some of us have been waiting for a long time. Before games I would just draw designs on a pad, usually to pass times on car journeys, passing the different landscapes and using the terrain as a template, I am sure many golfers do this, in their head at least. I am undertaking a HNC distance learning course in golf course management and the module right now happens to be Golf Course design and architecture. I will certainly be telling my tutor about this!

What's your best score round here?
I am not too good at the playing side yet, maybe 5 or 6 under. It's a tricky course.

Anything else you'd like to add about the design?
Not really. I may do an updated version in the future, there are some wonderful creations out there and the more I play I see how much attention to detail some designers pay. I didn’t focus so much on that, or didn’t need to. I wanted a tough strategic design with little fuss, as if it were some unknown links by the sea, but I may try and spice it up one day.