Northumberland golf club planning major rebrand

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 23, 2019 12:49

Wallsend Golf Club in Northumberland is hoping to embark on a major £12.5m project that will see its driving range transformed into a centre aimed at attracting new people to golf.

The club is poised to become the UK’s first ‘BigShots Golf’ centre, combining traditional golf play with digital technology, reports ChronicleLive, and has applied for planning permission to reconfigure the existing golf course and include the development of a driving range that will be the first of its kind in the UK.

The BigShots Golf concept, launched in Texas in 2017, ‘is designed to deliver golf to a younger and more diverse market by combining the outdoor facilities of a traditional driving range with state-of-the-art virtual reality digital technology’, said a spokesman. Last year, ClubCorp, the world leader in private golf clubs, purchased a controlling interest in the company, which has been compared to Topgolf, which has three successful facilities in the UK.

The £12.5 million project, which could be completed as soon as autumn 2020, will see the construction of a two-storey building, with golf bays fronting the driving range at ground and first floor levels and additional facilities including a new bar and restaurant, shop, changing facilities, golf academy, kitchen, function and meeting rooms and offices.

The western end of the building would contain new Wallsend Golf Club locker rooms and the application also includes parking facilities, plus a new maintenance building for greenkeeping equipment.

PGA professional Phil Harrison said: “It’s a fantastic concept that is proving incredibly popular in the USA as it’s attractive to not only experienced golfers who can use it as a traditional driving range to practice, a coaching aid or just the fun of playing different courses in a virtual reality mode, but also to complete novices who can learn to play golf here whilst still having fun playing different games.

“Wallsend Golf Club is the perfect site for us to launch the new concept and, whilst there will be disruption to the course over the first year of construction, the end result will be a professionally designed 18-hole course with truly superb facility in the BigShots driving range.”

Chris Sanderson, who will manage the facility, added: “The BigShots facility will also be a major employer with around 47 full and part time direct posts created in an area of relatively high employment whilst both the construction and operating phases will seek to source local suppliers wherever possible, securing further employment opportunities.

“It’s also a massive boom to the existing Wallsend Golf Club which will be radically reconfigured and improved to provide a first class golf facility that will rival any course in the region, with a superb clubhouse.”

The Wallsend facility will the first in the UK with the developers intending to launch further sites nationwide in the future.

The application comes as Wynard Golf Club in Hartlepool has been granted planning permission to build a 150-bed, three-storey resort hotel complete with restaurant, conference facilities, a crèche, a health club, a gymnasium and a spa. The project includes a golf academy, driving range and landscaping together with alterations to the golf course layout and a new lake.

Meanwhile, The Springs Golf Club in Oxfordshire is planning to build 43 lodges and create a new hotel.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 23, 2019 12:49
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  1. Jon July 30, 12:39

    Fine example of a driving range being transformed into a centre aimed at attracting new people to golf.

    Reply to this comment
  2. Pete July 28, 17:53

    Save your $$$$, invest in a quick, affordable and less frustrating form of AG (alternative golf) that can be played in half the time.

    “Those who refuse to economize, must learn to agonize”…..Confucius 540 AD

    Reply to this comment
  3. mary July 21, 16:28

    my god ive just looked at the plans
    those poor souls living opposite will be going through a living hell
    this is the sort of thing that gives golf a bad name

    Reply to this comment
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