One of the more hotly contested redesign jobs in Australia was awarded to the newly formed Ogilvy Clayton Design team last week, the company appointed by the Royal Canberra Golf Club to prepare a Masterplan for major course works, post the 2013 Aussie Women’s Open.

Back in October the club’s board had sent an expression of interest document to course architects and design companies across Australia, with a short list of four announced in mid November and including Crafter & Mogford, Graham Marsh Design and Greg Norman GCD, along with Ogilvy Clayton. The club’s master planning committee, comprised of the Board, the General Manager, Assistant General Manager and Course Superintendent, then met representatives of the various candidates as they inspected the site and made detailed presentations on their views for redevelopment.

In announcing the decision to appoint the Ogilvy Clayton team, headed by 2006 US Open champion Geoff Ogilvy and tour professional Mike Clayton, the club commented that they had, ‘displayed sympathetic design philosophies, along with a strong, diverse, experienced and consultative team.’ Partner Mike Clayton said, ‘We’re delighted to be appointed and it’s an exciting project for the Club members, staff and Ogilvy Clayton. We look forward to improving the course and working closely with the club and its members.’ Club President Ray Young commented that all submissions were, ‘ very impressive and professional’ but ultimately they decided that, ‘Ogilvy Clayton provided a great understanding of our unique challenges and a depth of experience needed for our iconic Club.’

Given a portfolio of quality work at equivalent high-end clubs across Australia, the appointment of Ogilvy Clayton comes as no surprise – especially as Greg Norman failed to personally visit the club himself to mount the case for engagement. The club would be wise to give the architects a broad brief, given its significant fall in national ranking lists, and obvious issues with impeding trees, mowing lines and poorly designed greens and bunkers.

The Master Plan is expected to be completed by April 2012, with course works to begin after the Australian Women’s Open in February 2013. We intend to keep readers posted as progress is made.