Date: Wed 04 Aug 2021

10 Questions for ... Pierfrancesco de Simone MEIGCA

The latest in the popular series of Member Profiles where you can get to know our members better.

1. Why did you want to be a golf course architect?

I started to play golf quite late, in my early twenties, but soon after I fell in love with the game and everything that makes it happen. I was studying for a degree in engineering at the University of Milan but not yet sure what I would do next. I saw that Edinburgh College of Art offered a Masters Degree in Golf Course Architecture. I applied and my career started from there.

2. Which golf course architects do you admire and why?

I always appreciated the work of Dr. Alistair Mackenzie. He changed the perspective regarding strategy of golf holes and he was one of the first architects that introduced a kind of artistic touch to Golf Course Architecture. His bunkering style is still copied and is a source of inspiration for all of us.

3. What is your proudest design achievement?

The Restoration of the Heathland Landscape at the Des Iles de Borromeès Golf Club. When I visited the site I realised that the agronomic condition was perfect for the development of heather surroundings in the rough areas. The work is far from completion, but some areas are already well established.

4. What are your favourite three golf courses in the World from a design perspective, and why?

  • North Berwick West Links is my favourite because of the variety of holes and hazards of the back nines.
  • Kingsbarns from an architectural point of view as the achievement from the starting point is stunning.
  • Bethpage in the United States for how the golf course fits into the land.

5. What are the greatest challenges you face as a golf course architect?

I always face problems regarding the budget. Developers want to make savings in every aspect of planning and construction. Too often long-term bad decisions are taken for short-term savings. Our job is to convince the client to see how things will be in the next 5-10 years.

6. What environmental or sustainable initiatives have you incorporated into your designs?

One project in Sicily had one-third of the site covered with a landfill area that was incorporated in the golf landscape. At another - Golf des Iles Borromeès - we recovered a heartland habitat. Thee current project I am working on, at the Poiano Golf Resort, we planned several tall rough areas to enhance the wildlife and irrigation water savings.

7. How do you see the golf course design industry changing in the next 20 years?

Environmental issues and cost savings will be the keys of success. Environmental regulations are getting tougher day-after-day and full comprehension of new laws is the key for a smooth authorisation process that will save money and time.

8. What makes a golf course great rather than just good?

Integration of the landscape is key to having a great golf course. Too often we see golf courses that look good but are totally disconnected with their outside environment. The study of the natural setting in which the golf course will be built is very important in taking the right decisions during planning and construction.

9. What advice would you give to an aspiring golf course architect?

An aspiring golf course architect should study the best golf courses around the world, understand why they are so highly rated and the reasons that their greatness will last in the next decades. The intention is not to copy, but as inspiration for future masterpieces.

10. What do you enjoy about being a golf course architect?

I like to travel and to see areas of my country that I would have never visited. I love to be outdoors and work with the crews to achieve the best results possible. We are responsible for changing large natural areas around the would and we must do it carefully, thinking about the future generations.

Click here to read more about Pierfrancesco.

Golf Course Design
EIGCA Officers and Council 2023-2024