Opened for play in 2017, the Lassi Pekka Tilander-designed course at Tbilisi Hills Golf & Residences overlooks the Georgian capital from the south side of the city. It’s now part of the European Tour Properties portfolio, with ambitions to maybe host a professional event in the near future.
Tilander was actually the third architect to get involved in the project, following a change in ownership during the development, and he was forced to use many of the playing corridors that had previously been cut through the heavily forested site, though all the greens and bunkers were built to his design.
Changes in elevation of more than 140 metres made it a difficult site to work on, as did having only a thin layer of topsoil lying on top of rock. Bringing material in was not an option, so Tilander had to work with what he had, moving only around a tenth the volume of soil that he would normally shift.
Director of Golf Paul Pohi sent us this information about the Tbilisi Hills course:
Most important hole – 1st
Our first hole is a short downhill par five that measures only 510 yards from the club tees. Players should play this hole smart, not to go for maximum distance with a driver, as the right side of the fairway, where the driving range is, has been marked as out of bounds. As the first tee is 2,500 feet above sea level, golf balls are flying a bit further so it’s good to pick a landing spot way short of the green. Low handicap players may reach the green in two with two good long irons, actually.
Signature hole – 16th
Our signature hole starts at the highest point of the golf course and it’s a short, tricky par five. It has close views to Shavnabada monastery, which was built in the 12th century, where monks produce wine even today. The hole has a big ravine in the driving distance, so players must lay up off the tee to keep their ball play. The hole is reachable in two but, as on the first hole, there’s trouble all along the right where a penalty area follows players from tee to green.