The upgrade of Belvoir Park Golf Club

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 18, 2019 15:21

Regarded as one of the best inland golf courses in Northern Ireland and designed by the same man who put Royal Portrush together – Harry Colt, Belvoir Park Golf Club is in the process of having its course updated – and that means shaping modern reconstructions while maintaining Colt’s concepts.

It’s a big year for golf in Northern Ireland, with the Open Championship returning to the Harry Colt designed Dunluce Links at Royal Portrush Golf Club for the first time in 68 years. Two years before he laid out his plans for Royal Portrush, Colt created an inland masterpiece at Belvoir Park in South Belfast.

Belvoir Park Golf Club, founded in 1927, is widely regarded as the finest parkland course in Northern Ireland. The course is located just two miles from Belfast city centre but situated in the tranquility of 163 acres of mature parkland.

On accepting his commission at Belvoir Park, Colt reported: “I consider that it will be possible to make a course affording an excellent test and, at the same time, one that will give the maximum of pleasure to players.” Golfers at Belvoir Park will recognise many of Colt’s design traits, such as the small but simply-contoured putting surfaces closely guarded by deep greenside bunkers. The short 8th is a great example of this where, despite only measuring a little over 40 yards, any wayward shot will be quickly gathered into one of the bunkers, swales and hollows that surround the raised green.

Swan Golf Designs has now been charged with updating the course while maintaining the concepts and spirit of Colt’s original designs, and it is this same aim of producing a golfing challenge and an enjoyable game that guides the ongoing work. Since his appointment in early 2018, William Swan has undertaken renovations on the 4th, 8th, 11th, 13th and 18th holes, working in close collaboration with course manager Aaron Small. These works have included new bunkering, reconstructed tees and reshaped green surrounds, with the new features all having been brought back into play in time for the start of the competitive season in spring 2019. In addition, the practice ground has seen extensive reconstruction over the winter to implement Swan’s new design and to allow club professional, Michael McGivern, to make full use of his innovative objectively-measured practice system.

The project team is now in the process of finalising plans for the 2019/2020 winter works, with a view to completing the renovation of all remaining holes and practice facilities over the next three to five years.

It’s not only at Belvoir Park that Swan Golf Designs has been tasked with updating and restoring the work of the ‘golden age’ architects. The company’s work can also be seen at the likes of Colt designed Barton-on-Sea, James Braid designs at Thorpeness and Workington, the Old Tom Morris and Henry Cotton layouts at Moray Golf Club, as well as the recent restoration of Herbert Fowler bunkering at Huddersfield Golf Club.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir June 18, 2019 15:21
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