A look at some of the clubs that have been investing

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 27, 2021 13:03

From a club rebranding to a driving range that has increased the number of professionals it employs, the growth in participation has given many golf clubs the confidence to invest in themselves.

A number of golf clubs have invested heavily in themselves in the last 12 months as they aim to capitalise on the current growth in golf.

For example, Bourn Golf & Country Club has been renamed as Cambridge Country Club and will open this spring.

As part of a renovation project that began before the pandemic started, the 43,000 square foot complex will include an opulent wellness centre complete with a state-of-the-art gym, luxury spa facilities, a stylish new bar and restaurant, fully equipped conference rooms and beautiful function rooms complete with panoramic views overlooking the golf course.

The club’s director, Louise Rody, said, “We are thrilled to be bringing a London-style five-star experience to Cambridge in a way which hasn’t been done before. After what will have been a difficult year of separation from friends and family, we are looking forward to the unveiling of our new complex and the beginning of a new era for the club. We hope that the Cambridge Country Club will quickly become the ‘go-to’ destination to relax, unwind and enjoy meeting socially once again.”

Another venue that has been investing is Trafford Golf Centre, which has increased its workforce and said this is due to the popularity of the game in 2020.

The UK’s busiest driving range has welcomed three new members to a, now, 11-strong team of PGA professional golfers.

PGA qualified golf coach, Jamie Forshaw, has joined from Worsley Golf Club while Matt Phillips and Calum Heyes-Smith are furthering their careers in the golf industry and have become PGA registered trainees.

Director of Golf, Pete Styles said: “We have experienced many highs and lows as a venue in the last year, but we’re pleased to be growing and reporting positive numbers.

“To further support the growth of the team, the teaching studios are being relocated to a quieter area of the range plus £30,000 has been invested in upgraded and new technical equipment. Recently, the analysis software has been upgraded and the cameras used have also been upgraded to industry leading models. We pride ourselves on being the north’s centre of excellence for golf improvement and will continue to upgrade and improve for our customers.”

Dundonald Links Golf Resort is also investing – an ambitious £25 million project including a striking new clubhouse and innovative lodge accommodation featuring two, four or six bedrooms which has been custom-designed with golfers in mind.

A £1 million investment is also being made in the golf course itself, overseen by the course’s original designer, Kyle Phillips and is scheduled to open on May 1.

It’s not just the top venues that are investing.

Work has begun on a quarter of a million pounds golf driving range at a municipal golf club, which should capitalise on the current demand to play the game.

Sefton Council’s Bootle Golf Course has seen the work on a 10-bay driving range facility start after the council consulted with local residents and found there was a desire for it to invest in both golf practice facilities and upgrades to the course.

The council has also appointed contractors to support the installation of new fencing and outfield improvements to the site.

The new driving range will include practice facilities and a dedicated coaching bay. Floodlighting will mean golfers can take advantage of evenings to practice their swing and technique during the winter months when it’s too dark to play on course.

Cllr Ian Moncur, Sefton Council’s cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “As well as enhancing the already-popular Bootle Golf Course, this new driving range will help to make golf more accessible and attract new players, and enable existing golfers to improve their game.

“When we consulted them, local residents and golfers highlighted the importance of new practice facilities and investment in course infrastructure.

“No matter what the weather or time of year, these new facilities mean existing golfers can practice their game and people who have not played before can give the sport a try.”

The new driving range is due to open later in 2021.

And North Tyneside Council granted planning consent to HG&L Newcastle Ltd for the £13m Wallsend Golf Centre development at Centurion Park.

The innovative leisure facility combines a full length golf range with a redesign of the golf course, which will enable six, 12 and 18 hole rounds and a substantial investment in comprehensive drainage and other measures including two water features and new planting to enhance biodiversity.

The range will combine the facilities of a traditional driving range with state-of-the-art virtual reality digital technology. The advanced digital technology tracking equipment transposes players’ shots onto digital screens, which can show a number of virtual reality games or a selection of world-renowned golf courses. The technology enables complete novices to learn to play golf, having fun playing different games whilst experienced players can practice, enjoying playing different courses in a virtual reality mode or be coached by the centre’s academy.

The two storey building will have 54 well-furbished golf bays complete with an automated golf ball dispense system fronting the driving range. The main building to the rear of the bays will contain a sports bar and restaurant, golf pro shop, golf academy, kitchens, function / meeting rooms and associated offices. The building will also provide a new clubhouse for Wallsend Golf Club with locker rooms and changing facilities linking directly with the course.

The centre will be home to a new PGA Golf Academy for all golfers, but aimed particularly at local young people, who may not otherwise have been able to access the game.

Spokesman Phil Harrison commented, “Our model, combining a state-of-the-art driving range with the redesigned course, will welcome a whole new range of players.”

Like the growth in participation, investments have not just been confined to the UK.

Costa Brava’s oldest golf club – Golf de Pals – has been given a fresh makeover as part of a €250,000 investment.

Around €100,000 was spent on the new pro shop to improve the retail experience and there was also significant investment in replacement tee areas and irrigation updates, to take the maintenance standards to a new level too.

A spokesperson for Golf Costa Brava said: “It is always the aim to find improvements – not only on the course, but also with other facilities. These are important projects and ensure that the club remains as popular as ever to our members and guests.”

 

Seamus Rotherick
By Seamus Rotherick April 27, 2021 13:03
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