Reflecting on 20 Years of Golf at The Grove with Kyle Phillips

It’s been just over 20 years since the first guests took a swing on the championship golf course at The Grove, designed by renowned architect Kyle Phillips. In light of this milestone, the team at The Grove sat down with the man himself and listened to him reflect on the design process, the course and of Tiger Woods’ win at the 2006 World Golf Championship.

Hi Kyle, as a world-renowned golf course architect, what are the key factors you believe are essential to consider when designing a golf course to make it truly exceptional?

You need to have accessibility to water and good soil, first and foremost. If you have no water, you have nothing, and this is the risk when working in drier climates like in the Middle East. But in the Caribbean, for example, we would desalinate the water and then recycle it so it could be used on the golf course. It’s an efficient process for when there isn’t water typically, or limited water.

Having good soil helps with achieving perfect contours on the golf course. The Grove is a great example of a course with good land, and in terms of contours there were some areas that were a little more dramatic than others, but overall it’s good, with well-draining soil.

Building a world-class golf course is a complex process. Could you walk us through some of the key steps and challenges you faced during the initial construction of the course at The Grove?

There were a lot of constraints and historic preservation issues here. The trees were very significant which caused limitations, despite the fact we had a 300-acre estate and the golf course itself has plenty of room between the holes, which serves us well today.

The ability to get those long runs and to get the scale of what you need for golf was tricky to make it all work around the existing features. I’m always up for a challenge and that was really the challenge. I think from top to bottom, the whole team of consultants and the owners really took that seriously and you see the response today.