Robert G Donald (Principal, Sports & Spaces Ltd) has enjoyed a lasting professional relationship with various golf course architects since his first golf course construction collaboration, Dale Hill Golf Course, Ticehurst, East Sussex 1995/96 – opened 1997 (Ian Woosnam signature design); where Robert worked with EGD to produce sustainable golf course drainage solutions on some extremely ‘heavy’ Weald clay soils, thereby providing year-round access for golf play & maintenance whilst respecting flood risk criteria and recovering land drainage discharge (water harvesting) for course water features & irrigation reuse. Water features are integral to the course design landscape at Dale Hill mid Sussex, High Weald, and working with EGD, ensured sufficient supply and discharge was achieved from the water features to give year-round aesthetic contribution to the golf course architecture and associated features/hazards.
Also whilst working with MJ Abbott’s, Robert’s golf course land drainage design & build projects (in collaboration with EGD) included 18-hole new-build, The Montgomerie at Celtic Manor, fairway primary drainage design & installation, combined with elements of golf feature construction; this successful liaison was followed by further appointments for drainage (primary & secondary design & installation) Roman Road course, Celtic Manor and ultimately during 1992/1993, drainage design and assistance with the construction of The 2010 Ryder Cup course at Celtic Manor which was remembered as the wettest recorded Ryder Cup competition recorded yet, the course (and its drainage infrastructure) continued to perform throughout this globally recognised sporting event, providing huge credit and recognition to Celtic Manor and the Welsh nation as a whole!
Robert has extensive previous experience in drainage within the golf industry and has held positions in governing body trade associations, including the Land Drainage Contractors Association (LDCA) (subsequently Chairman 2003-2005), the British Association of Golf Course Constructors (BAGCC), and the British Turf & Landscape Irrigation Association (BTLIA) creating an industry reputation, and regularly speaking at industry seminars & conferences.
Robert is currently advising European Golf Designs (EGD) on the drainage and water engineering of Marco Simone Ryder Cup 2022 golf course, Rome. This appointment with EGD followed his appointment as golf course drainage consultant to the new JCB championship golf course at Woodseat Hall, Uttoxeter, which was developed during 2017/2018 and is now open for limited play having endured extreme weather events in the Staffordshire ‘potteries’ on very heavy clay soils, the design protocol delivered by Sports & Spaces has been very well received and signed off as successfully fulfilled, thereby resulting in the establishment of the most ambitious golf project in the UK for many years.
Throughout the course of his career, Robert has presided over the drainage design and installation at various golf courses all around the world, including:
- Bowood golf course, Calne, Wilts
- Wooten Bassett golf course, Wilts
- Gainsborough golf course (Karsten Lakes Course), Lincolnshire
- Gut Larchenhof golf club, Pulheim Cologne, Germany (Jack Nicklaus signature design)
- Royal Waterloo golf course, Belgium
- Ramside Hall golf and hotel complex, County Durham (Gaunt Golf Design Ltd)
- Fota Island golf course, County Cork, Ireland
- Brocket Hall golf club, Hertfordshire
- Hanbury Manor golf club, Hertfordshire
- The London golf club
- The Oxfordshire, Studley Wood, Magnolia Park and Frilford Heath golf club, all in Oxfordshire
- Villa Nova Quinta Da Ria, Algarve, Portugal
- Amendoeira golf resort, Algarve, Portugal
- Queenwood golf club, Surrey
- 2010 Ryder Cup course, Celtic Manor, Newport, Wales
- Heythrop Park golf course, Enstone, Oxfordshire (full construction).
- Waterstock golf course, Oxfordshire
- Sunningdale golf course, Berks
- Swinley Forest golf course, Berks
- Royal Ascot golf course, Berks
- Mapledurham golf course, Berks
- Full fairway drainage scheme design & install St Mellion golf course, Callington, Cornwall (Jack Nicklaus Signature design).
- The Belfry Brabazon (Ryder Cup) course.