Royal Norwich GC set to complete relocation

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 2, 2019 19:41

How Toro machinery is ensuring the club’s two new courses will thrive.

Royal Norwich’s relocation is nearly complete. The new 18-hole and six-hole courses are due to open later this year

Things have moved on considerably since we last visited Royal Norwich, all 24 holes have been handed over to director and estates manager Peter Todd and the greenkeeping facilities and workshop are complete, meaning Toro now has a home at the new site to work and live.

The major benefit of designing a golf course from scratch is that it brings with it the chance to be specific to the needs and wants of your membership. In the case of Royal Norwich that means a progressive board of directors, each one bringing with them a wealth of expertise in their specific sector, with one mission in mind: to create a sustainable business which understands how the game of golf is changing.

Peter Todd, director and estates manager at Royal Norwich, right, and Reesink’s Julian Copping with Toro in the club’s state-of-the-art greenkeeping facilities

Receiving as much attention as the 18-hole golf course is the six-hole course. Being built to the same exacting standards to bring an identical quality of golf to players with less time, the six-hole course represents the way Royal Norwich is creating a venue that has thought of everything, says Peter.

“The focus at Royal Norwich is to make the game of golf easy and accessible to all. If you don’t have as much time, the six-hole par three and par four course provides a challenging and exciting, but much quicker, game. It has two different teeing positions to enable players to do two rounds from each tee, and we hope will be appealing to juniors and our older members, too.”

There’s a distinctly all-inclusive feel developing at Royal Norwich, this is a place where families and groups of friends will be welcome. With 300 acres of mature and established woodland and beautiful rolling countryside, the venue is ideal for plans for cycle tracks and walking trails. “It’s just a more modern way of thinking, which corresponds to the change in culture that has traditionally surrounded golf,” says Peter. “People want to spend time together and we’re making this venue an appealing place to do that.”

Another way Royal Norwich has thought of everything is in its design of the greenkeeping facilities and workshop. The building was reclaimed from an old refrigeration warehouse, now it’s the second all air-conditioned facility in the country. A team room with pool table, stylish meeting rooms for business meetings, state-of-the-art workshop and parts storage, a ‘boot room’ with washing machine and dehumidifier, showers, every convenience has been thought of, confirms Peter, including its green credentials:

“It’s completely insulated, so will be highly efficient. One hundred percent of its daytime power is generated from the solar panels on the roof as well as supplying 40 percent of the clubhouse electricity needs.”

The facility has been home to a loan fleet of used Toro equipment, compiled to accommodate the growing-in phase of the courses. Reesink Turfcare’s Trevor Chard has worked with Peter for more than 18 years, first at The London Club where they introduced of a new Toro fleet of machinery.

Trevor says: “There are so many different requirements when tending new and growing-in turf. For example, it’s pedestrian mowing to start with to prevent bruising the grass, it’s only once the grass is more established that ride-ons will be required. And it’s tough, unforgiving work for the fleet, there’s a lot of dust and stones to contend with as the earth moves and settles into its new formation.”

Here, Peter takes over again: “If my time in construction at Gleneagles taught me anything, it’s that you can never predict what a new course will throw at you. One thing I didn’t envisage was using rotary mowers on the tees for example! But we had dwarf perennial rye grass in a blend when fescue took hold and grew so quickly in those early days; we needed to get on top of it fast and only a rotary would do.”

It’s clear to see then, why a loan fleet of used equipment makes economic sense! Plus, as Peter concludes, this is a partnership for the long-term: “With things on a new course moving so fast and so many different requirements at each stage, I knew I needed a machinery partner that would be flexible and accommodating. I respect the Toro brand and have enjoyed working with Trevor for all these years, but I needed to know I had flexible and immediate support, Reesink’s East Anglia service division gave me that.”

Now joining that loan fleet which has worked so hard in the early stages are the beginnings of Peter’s Toro fleet. Four Flex 2120 pedestrian mowers have arrived for hand cutting the greens, the Greensmaster 1600 is Peter’s top choice for the tees and the Groundsmaster 4500-D and Groundsmaster 3500-D are taking on the initial mowing of the fairways and semi-roughs.

And the progress so far has had the royal approval as representatives from 25 Royal clubs from around the world flocked to Royal Norwich to celebrate the club’s recent 125th anniversary and see and hear how the club is shaping up to be a progressive, pioneering and prestigious addition on the world golf stage.

Reesink Turfcare is the exclusive distributor in the UK and Ireland for Toro professional turfcare machinery and irrigation products for the golf, sport and amenity sectors. Tel: 01480 226800, email or visit


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir March 2, 2019 19:41
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