Downes Earthworks Ltd at BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME)

MDownes Earthworks attended The BIGGA Turf Management Exhibition (BTME), Europe’s leading exhibition for turf professionals and buyers this week.

Amongst the crowds of Golf Professionals and Buyers the Team from Le Golf National attended. The 2018 Ryder Cup will be played, for the first time, in France. The course manager of Le Golf National, Alejandro Reyes, gave a talk about how preparations for the event are going, and the work that has made the venue – only opened in the 1990s – to be considered already one of the best in the world.

In 2015 MDownes Earthworks were chosen to provide specialist services for the renovation of the L’Albatros course at Le Golf National. MDownes reshaped the 1st and 16th green and made major alterations to a number of bunkers. Last year they revisited to construct a new bunker on the 18th fairway and constructed a new practice area, hopefully the golfers find this satisfactory in September!

We caught up with the club’s golf and courses and estate manager, Alejandro Reyes at the show to find out more about the course, how the preparations are going for 2018 and to see if he has any course management tips for his peers on the other side of the English Channel.

Alejandro statesOur first agronomy and playability concern was drainage. Thirty years ago the Albatros was shaped in a heavy clay field, over old construction waste and 15cms of agricultural topsoil was added to seed. There wasn’t drainage with the exception of some low areas, however I must say that the shaping of the fairways was very well done to have superficial runoffs and to avoid puddles. But it wasn’t enough for first class playing surfaces.

The challenge was to do this drainage (and all the other renovations) between two French Opens, to grow the fairways back and play the 2016 French Open. We worked incredibly hard to heal all the trenches, always expecting the key areas of play to be presented to tournament standard. Even if the course presentation was improving daily, two weeks prior to the tournament (mid-June) we were still sodding large areas and I wasn’t sure of the result.

I will always remember something: first day of the 2016 French Open and our tournament director announced that the tournament would involve playing the ball as it lies. I was stomping 13 green and I won’t forget that moment. One of the biggest successes we had at Le Golf National.”

MDownes will continue to work with Le Golf National on future European Golf Courses. Good luck to all this September!

MDownes Earthworks

  • Your team have done a great job on our lake reconstruction. You delivered on time with minimal disruption to our club. Thank you.


    Rob Rowson
    Forest of Arden Hotel and Golf Club
  • MD Earthworks’ professionalism, approach and enthusiasm towards their work is a credit to them. With efficiency and quality being paramount to the project. We are really pleased with the works they have undertaken here at Bolesworth Castle.

    Bolesworth Castle Estate

    Tom Roberts,
    Contracts Manager
  • We’ve worked with MD Earthworks on many projects now – they understand what we are trying to achieve; understand the quality needed and deliver every single time. It’s a pleasure to work with them.

    European Golf Design

    Jeremy Slessor,
    Managing Director


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