Fashioned by Dirk Bouts, lead architect at Nicklaus Design, the 18-hole Championship course and 9-hole par three Academy layout at Jurmala Golf Club & Hotel were unveiled to the golfing public in late 2018.
Laid out over the top of a Pekka Wesaama-designed course, formerly known as Saliena Golf Club, the new layout at Jurmala bears little resemblance to the course the Finnish architect created in 2007.
“The initial thought by the client was to renovate the existing golf course,” said Bouts. “But it became clear to all that the only proper option was to completely redesign and rebuilt the entire golf course.
The site was very challenging as it was located below sea-level and large parts of the site consist of peat,” continued Bouts. “Proper drainage of the site and the golf course ended up being the main focus for the design and construction of the course. While keeping proper water management and drainage practices in mind, the layout has integrated the existing water bodies and added various new water features where required.
What I found particularly interesting was that with the right approach, the proper design and professional construction methods, a very average, newly constructed course was turned into a great golf facility, providing the highest standards to be enjoyed by all kinds of golfers alike.”
Jurmala Golf Club & Hotel is the second and the newest 18-hole golf course in Latvia, between capital city Riga and resort town Jurmala, near international airport of Riga. It is very young project with 18-holes championship golf course and 9-hole par 3 academy golf course. The golf club also features very well equipmented driving range, comfort putting green area, huge clubhouse with hotel, pro shop, saunas and restaurant. Everything is new and in the best condition. You can‘t expect better...modern hotel rooms, cozy reception and restaurant.
I was stay few days ago and played here three rounds during Latvian MidAm Open 2020. Organization, conditions of golf fields and accommodation was more than perfect. Actually big investment is visible to the naked eye and it affects concerning bigger than in area prices. In other hand you must check time by time the special price they offer.
Course was played one time from white and two times from yellow tees. The biggest challenge is not distance, but wind, long fescue rough, many bunkers and lot of water hazards. The course requires accuracy and smart play against breeze. As first day I was lucky to play in normal conditions without strong wind I find the course is not very challenging, but usually sea breeze is typical conditions here.
Fields condition was great, greens was fast with invisible slopes, fairways cutten like carpet. I find every hole is not boring, but very similar one to other without trees, doglegs and other variations. Generally course is playable for different levels of golfers for good result. Maybe much more difficult in windy days...when you must to donate many balls to golf gods and golf courses. The fields have one big disadvantage – very flat without picturable views. I guess they will improve landscape in future as I saw many planted small trees.
As every golf course rating is always a subject with a lot of subjectivity, depending on various criteria and personal point of view to importance things, my personal opinion depends on following criteria: course complexity or challenging, fields condition (especially greens & fairways), service (only what you can get: buggie, club rent, condition of clubs, the amount of choice and etc. except staff and other subjective things that depends on your or staff mood), surrounding views or pleasure to the eyes and definitely value for the price. All criteries will be rating from 1 to 5 stars. My priority is challenging and value for price criterias. Jurmala Golf Club gets:
1. Challenging - 4*
2. Condition - 5* +
3. Service - 5*
4. Surroundings - 3*
5. Value for the price - 4*
Will be back soon.
Jurmala is a new grassland course with an onsite hotel, excellent practice facilities and a very challenging golf course. Unfortunately it's sited on a very flat piece of former farmland and if the golf course is the key element of the entire complex, it is significantly hindered by it.
Whilst conditioning was great, there was no getting past that almost every hole is bordered by water and knee-high fescue rough. Combined with the flat landform the holes just seemed to blend into one another. Only the first didn't have a pond, lake or drainage canal somewhere along it, usually the holes had combinations of the three types of water hazard. Outside of the water, fairways and greens there is long fescue rough. Everywhere. Almost every group I saw was searching for balls at some stage. The course requires accuracy, but in the 2-3 club breeze it was playing tough and I suspect that is the norm. I would consider this a course designed and conditioned more for the single figure handicapper, but I seem to recall that is only 15% of all golfers, so it will be interesting to see where this club goes with its layout in the future. I suspect they will have to cut back on the rough in short order or they might not get much repeat custom, especially in a developing golf market like Latvia.
Not surprisingly with the new and top quality facilities, the green fee is EUR29 more than at Ozo Golf. If I ever found myself in Riga again, I'd return to Ozo rather than this course as I found it a much fairer and more pleasant course to walk around. Your mileage may vary.