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Real Madrid Superstar, Gareth Bale Transforms Backyard Into Mind-Blowing Golf Course

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Wales star Gareth Bale has finally finished transforming his back garden into a homage to some of the most iconic holes in golf.

In 2015 the Real Madrid ace, an avid golf fan, revealed he was embarking on a project that would see the 17th hole at Sawgrass, the ‘postage stamp’ 8th at Royal Troon and the fabled 12th at Augusta National recreated at his £4million home in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales.

He enlisted the help of Southwest Greens, a company that specialise in the design and installation of state-of-the-art synthetic turf and lawns.

Wales star Gareth Bale has finished transforming his back garden into a homage to some of the most iconic holes in golf. Pictured top: Bale’s version of the 17th hole at Sawgrass (under) a golf course in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida

Pictured: Top, Bale’s version of the ‘postage stamp’ 8th at Royal Troon Golf Club (Under) in South Ayrshire, near Glasgow

Pictured: Bale’s version of the legendary 12th at Augusta National (top) in Georgia, one of the world’s most famous golf clubs

Gareth Bale said it was a life-long dream to have a mini golf course to himself at his home in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

Gareth Bale said it was a life-long dream to have a mini golf course to himself at his home in the Vale of Glamorgan, Wales

UK-based architects James Edwards and Mark Ely drew up the holes and worked with Southwest Greens to provide the Welsh winger with the perfect practice facility.

‘I had a lovely bit of land here and it was something that I really wanted to do and I decided that I would love to make a dream come true and build a mini golf course in my house,’ Bale said.

‘I did my research online and I found Southwest Greens. I wanted a lot of low maintenaince.

‘We came up with a big concept of what I wanted to do. We loved the idea of it and went from a plain piece of land to building what we have now.

The par-three 17th TPC Sawgrass was one of the three holes painstakingly recreated in south Wales by top course designers. Here it is during the construction phase which show the work that went into building it

The par-three 17th TPC Sawgrass was one of the three holes painstakingly recreated in south Wales by top course designers. Here it is during the construction phase which show the work that went into building it

Workmen with a digger and dumptruck move the huge amount of earth that had to be dug out to make the course

Workmen with a digger and dumptruck move the huge amount of earth that had to be dug out to make the course.

‘It was a lot of hard work and a lot of craftmanship. It’s so much better than I ever thought it could be.’

Bale is currently in Nanning, China, with Ryan Giggs’ Wales squad ahead of this week’s China Cup.

The president of Southwest Greens, Kevin Holinaty, told WalesOnline exactly how the project came to fruition.

‘We worked with Gareth to decipher what his wishes were, being that he’s a keen golfer and like all of us that like to play the game, you have your favourite holes, you have your dream scenarios.

‘He came to us with that, James Edwards at EDI Golf Design was very much involved in that process. We came up with a design that we wanted to move forward with.

Bale was keen to be involved from the beginning in all areas of the design, with meetings held in Madrid and Wales to fine tune the details. He asked the designers to fit the three holes on the site as sensitively as possible at their full length.

Bale is now able to work on his golf game in his spare time away from the football pitch.

Bale said it took a lot of hard work and a lot of craftsmanship to complete the mini course at his home. Pictured is his version of the 17th hole at Sawgrass, Florida.

‘There were a few ideas going back and forth and in the end he chose these three symbolic, iconic golf holes.

‘They’re not exact replicas, they’re ‘in the spirit of’ these three holes and it was done like that. Whenever you build a golf course, whether it’s three holes at a home or a full course, there is a lot of planning that has to go in before you create your construction plan, which is based on whatever the topography is and the design that the architect comes up with.’

The project took around six months and has been finished for two years.

However, a golf course needs time to mature so all parties have had to wait before revealing the finished project.

The design stage took two months to achieve through a series of masterplans and development work alongside project managers Warren Bailey and Freddy Valenti.

Bale was keen to be involved from the beginning in all areas of the design, with meetings held in Madrid and Wales to fine tune the details. He asked the designers to fit the three holes on the site as sensitively as possible at their full length.

Designer Mr Edwards said: ‘This unique brief was an incredible thrill for us.

‘The only real challenge was the weather. The site was extremely wet and the construction was delayed many times. The perseverance was worthy of an award!

‘The long views, mature backdrop and width of landscape experienced at the site are perfect for the such a garden facility to frame the holes in their best light.’

Mr Holinaty added the Welsh weather was one of the biggest challenges they faced.

‘As you can imagine, it went in several phases, they always do. In total, it was approximately six months. It took longer than we would normally want it to take mainly due to weather challenges.

‘It was an especially wet time for us when we were building it, so we had some challenges there.

‘So there was the rough shaping and grading that needed to happen, moving the earth around where it needed to go as a starting point.

‘Then the synthetics went in and then we moved to the finishing phase. That was a process too and you need to rely on dry days and sunny days for the seed to take and that type of thing.

‘It’s not an easy process – it requires a lot of knowledge and skill. We have a lot of world class shapers in our team that know what they’re doing.

‘It sits really well in this space and what we’re very pleased with is the view from each tee. That’s so important in golf.

‘The way that this plot sets up, it really works nicely in that regard. As you’re approaching the hole, you really see the hole well and that’s important.’

Tiger Woods on the 17th hole during the Players Championship at TPC Sawgrass in Florida in May 2013.

Woods hits his tee shot on the 12th hole at Augusta during the 2013 edition of the Masters tournament.

Rory McIlroy hits from the coffin bunker on the 8th hole during the 145th Open Championship at Royal Troon.

Bale lives with fiancee Emma and two children at the property during his time away from the Spanish capital.

Last year the pair reportedly spent £500,000 improving security at the converted farmhouse amid fears they could be targeted over Emma’s father’s business dealings.

Martin Rhys-Jones was jailed in the U.S. over a global investment fraud but has since returned to Britain.

Bale is currently with the Wales national squad in Nanning China, for the China Cup competition.

 

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