Renovation of the Golf Course by Pepe Hinarejos
Interview Pepe Hinarejos, Head Greenkeeper
Q: Pepe, when did you start with T-Golf and how did it happen?
A: I have been here from the very beginning. I have been taking care of golf courses all over the island for more than 15 years and my expertise was asked for initially, when we thought T-Golf would only need a few changes and improvements. Then we found out the course was in really bad shape. No water, no sand, everything was missing.
Q: That was the real challenge, wasn’t it?
A: Oh yes! We had to do a comprehensive and extensive plan to find out what to do with the course. Fortunately we found the original plans. We looked a little closer and were surprised by the detailed planning, which had not been transferred in total to the course.
Q: What might have been the reason?
A: Not easy to answer, possibly they did not have the machinery or they did not want to spend the money. An example: Ponds are very costly and laborious, the original plans showed 15 ponds but the old course had only three. Now all 15 ponds are back. As I mentioned, our idea really was to create the course following the original plans from John Harris. I am deeply convinced this is by far the best layout you will find on Mallorca.
Q: Did you have any idea of how extensive the renovation would be?
A: To be honest, all of us misjudged that. There were times over the last two years we had more than 150 men and countless machines out on the course. This gives an idea of the dimension of the renovation.
Q: Water is a constant problem on Mallorca, what is the solution?
A: Not at all a problem for us, we receive used water from nearby Santa Ponsa and recycle that with own Osmosis facility. We do not waste even one drop of water.
Q: Tell us about the grasses being used on the course.
A: The greens have the best type of grass available these days. It is called Agrostis Barracuda, a type of bent grass that is deep green in color and very thick. It is very compatible with the climate, resistant to salt, and needs little water and fertilizer in comparison with others. Tee boxes and fairways are covered with Bermuda Tifway 419 and improved hybrid of the classic Bermuda. It grows flat and has a fine structure. The rough is a close relative called Bermuda Transcontinental. It grows a little higher and allows us to vary the height of the rough.
Q: The almost white sand in the bunkers looks pretty impressive, where does it come from? And how many bunkers do you have on the course?
A: It comes from the Spanish mainland, a lot of truck loads where brought over. We follow the recommendations of the USGA. We have 79 bunkers out on the course, our goal is to keep the sand at 12 centimetres high.
Q: How about the driving range? At present it still looks like it is in the middle of construction.
A: Yes it is, but it looks worse than it actually is. We are sure that we will finish it by the end of 2018. The Driving Range will offer great practise opportunity for every possible golf shot. A 900 square meter Putting Green, a separate Chipping Green and forty tee boxes for full shot. The Driving Range will be 300 Meters deep.
Q: If you look at the course in detail, which holes are your favourite view?
A: The start with hole 1 is already pretty impressive, the best views are from holes 8, 9 and 13.
Q: There is still construction all over the course, when will it be completed?
A: The course is ready for play right now, next spring we will be completely finished and from then on we will continue to care for details.
Q: Do you play golf yourself?
A: (laughing) yes, since I was fifteen. At this time I do not get more than three or four rounds a year. There is simply too much work to do here.