Dylan Emms is only 11 but the golf-loving youngster topped the pack in the European Tour’s 3 Hole Design competition when his submission was judged the best among more than 500 entries.
The contest saw participants submitting their own designs for the final three holes on an actual site plan being worked on by European Golf Design, the tour’s design arm. The total par for the three holes had to be 11 or more and the routing could start from any one of three greens already on the plan, with the 18th finishing in front of the clubhouse.
Judging criteria included how well the design matched the brief and how well it fit within the landscape, continuity of design style and where the 18th green was located, along with strategy, scale and playability.
A 28-handicap member of Bramhall Park Golf Club in Cheshire, England, and Nefyn and District GC in Wales, Emms’ winning design consisted of a risk-reward par 5, a tough par three and challenging final hole with a three-tiered green.
“I’m very passionate about designing courses and this was a great opportunity to show everybody what I could do,” said Emms, who has been playing golf since age five.
“There were three points we could start from so I did one design from each and then chose the best route and worked on that design. I like holes that are very challenging but still give an opportunity for a good score.
“The 16th is a risk and reward par five, the 17th a par three with trouble up around the green and the 18th climbs up the hill to a dramatic three-tier green,” added the youngster, who already has two holes-in-one to his name.
Emms won a game at European Tour Destination of his choice, opting for Le Golf National in France, venue of the 2018 Ryder Cup. He noted that he will bring his father, who was also one of the contest participants, to play there.
“I watched the Ryder Cup on TV and really liked the tough finishing holes with all the water and island greens so it will be great to play there,” said Emms.
Jeremy Slessor, European Golf Design’s managing director commented: “We were blown away by the number of entries and the quality. Many entrants clearly put a huge amount of time and effort into their submissions and I want to thank everyone who took part. I would particularly like to highlight the submissions we received from Rob McLean, Christopher Jordan, Trevor Hansen and Emmet O’Sullivan, all of whom clearly put in a massive effort. It’s been an incredibly tough task to select a winner.
“It was a real toss-up between these final three but, in the end, we felt there was one person who just stood out a little more when we took all the factors into consideration. What marks Dylan out is that he is only 11 years old. We were going through the entries and Dylan’s kept going through to the next round and we were thinking, this guy’s so young but he’s here competing against all these other entries, even some from experienced golf course designers. We felt we needed to keep that in mind when he reached the top three and I hope everyone is as impressed as we were with his design submission”. – European Tour