Wentworth has revealed the first look at its dramatic multi-million pound revamp, which includes a complete transformation of all greens and bunkers in a bid to restore it to a course that more closely resembles its original design.
When Chris Wood returns to the site of his 2016 BMW PGA Championship victory, he will be playing a very unfamiliar version of Wentworth's West course.
Work on the course, which was spearheaded by Ernie Els design and European Golf Designs, began just eight days after his third European Tour victory last May. The course is due to be finished by the end of April in time for this years tournament, which takes place from May 25 - 28.
Thomas Bjorn and Paul McGinley were key figures of an advisory team that represented the views of the tour players, along with Kenny Mackay, who is Wentworth's Director of Golf Courses and Grounds.
“It’s been a real team effort." Els said of the huge team involved in the process.
"It’s been hard work, but it’s been a wonderful experience. I think the product you’ll see this time will be something the players will really enjoy. The guys will have smiles on their faces again. Their bad shots will get punished, but not as badly as before.
“We’ve improved the greens and taken bunkers out, and restored holes to their former glory. Some holes won’t even have bunkers on them anymore. The crowds will enjoy it and the players will too.”
Wentworth West Course: The Transformation
In its attempt to get the course closer to the originally intended design, 29 bunkers were completely removed and the rest were redesigned and reconstructed.
Four greens - the 8th, 11th, 14th and 16th were completely rebuilt while the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 13th and 15th greens were partially rebuilt. In addition to reconstruction, all 18 greens were stripped of their old turf and reseeded.
There was also a sub-air system put into the greens which will dry them out and enable them to go back to a firm and faster surface.
Bjørn believes the European Tour’s leading players will appreciate the changes when they get the chance to see them for themselves at May’s BMW PGA Championship.
“There was certainly a feeling to get this golf course back to where it was,” said the Dane. “It will still be a really tough test, but we’ve taken some of the tough obstacles out which we didn’t think Wentworth was all about.
“It is an old style course and it had probably been a little over-modernised, so we brought it to where we think it should be and back to the traditions of this golf course.
“We listened long and hard to the views of the Tour players. You have to when you have such a big event on a traditional golf course with so much history. The BMW PGA Championship is a fantastic event, one of the best in the world, and now there is a golf course here which is really worth playing, and which is right up there with the very high standard of the event.”
McGinley added: “The players wanted to go back in the direction of the old Harry Colt design. They wanted the contours on the greens to be softened, and the bunkering to be changed. I certainly couldn’t see out of the bunkers before, and not many guys could. So those were the two big things we changed.
“We’ve also put in a sub-air system into the greens which will dry them out and get it back to a firm, fast golf course, which players have always loved playing in the past.