More golf venues announce major investment projects

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 13, 2021 07:23

At least three more golf venues have announced forthcoming major projects in a sign of the strength of the UK golf industry in 2021.

St Andrews is set to see a new multi-million championship golf course, resort and spa.

A proposed leisure-led development on the outskirts of the town include up to 39 luxury suites, a spa and restaurant, as well as an 18-hole championship course to be designed by 1973 Open champion Tom Weiskopf. Planning permission for it, which has now expired, was granted nearly two decades ago, but those behind it are pushing ahead with plans at a time when golf is very popular. It also comes after investment consultancy GPH Engineering purchased the site in early 2020 and is now looking to progress the clubhouse’s development and associated facilities.

A proposal of application notice, noting intent to submit a planning application in due course following community consultation, has been submitted to Fife Council to develop the clubhouse and associated works.

A spokesperson for GPH Engineering said: “This exciting and ambitious scheme will deliver unrivalled standards of golf, accommodation and service at St Andrews, the home of golf, benefiting both members and the local community.

“The new course and clubhouse facilities will deliver some lovely coastal views in a fantastic unrivalled location, supporting a growing interest in golf, with the best courses attracting national and international visitors.

“It is our clear desire to deliver a project with lasting economic benefits to the town, Fife and Scotland. Schemes such as this provide a vital means to support the recovery of the tourism sector from Covid-19, delivering considerable employment opportunities – both during construction and onsite once complete.

“We’re looking forward to consulting widely with the community and key stakeholders over the coming months on our proposals, which will include a digital consultation event in May.”

Weiskopf said: “It is in a superb location, just 2.5 km from the beautiful town of St Andrews and will offer superb facilities, including a stunning clubhouse and golf course.

“The new owners are committed to providing the most comprehensive golfing experience in the British lsles and I am incredibly excited to finally see this dream project come to fruition.”

Under the proposals, all existing buildings at Feddinch Mains, with the exception of a farmhouse, would be demolished as part of the development, regenerating and re-using previously developed land.

Belford Golf Club. Image from Facebook

Meanwhile, an outline application has been submitted for a housing, leisure and retail development at Belford Golf Club in Northumberland.

The nine hole course would remain with much of the proposed redevelopment around the existing clubhouse.

The scheme comprises 37 new homes, including 14 bungalows on and around the existing driving range.

There will be a farm shop, retail units, a football / multi sports pitch, two tennis courts, an extended clubhouse, an improved driving range, bowling green, play park, micro-brewery and holiday lodges.

Golf club owners David and Michael Ratliff say the completed development could create at least 50 jobs and breathe fresh life into the village.

David said: “We are delighted that, after some years assessing needs, benefits and ideas for land use that the final conclusion has been submitted to Northumberland County Council.

“We have designed a scheme providing a raft of facilities never previously provided in Belford.

“The village has suffered a downturn from days when it had 17 shops and pubs.

“Now our plans offer two tennis courts, also available for soccer and basketball, football grass pitch, bowling green, large children’s play area, pitch and putt, new golf driving range and extended clubhouse.This will offer a large sports room for zumba, aerobics, pilates, sauna and hot tub.

“At least 50 jobs will be created and we expect to commence all immediately if permission is granted. We are very optimistic.”

And Morpeth Golf Club, also in Northumberland, is to invest upwards of £1 million pounds.

Extensive refurbishment of the clubhouse has already been completed, with a contemporary new bar and dining area being installed along with the introduction of a new locker room and upgraded shower facilities.

Morpeth Golf Club. Image from Facebook

Club management is also keen to enhance the dining experience and has announced designs for a new seating area built on the first floor of the clubhouse.

Chairman Steve Jemmett commented: “We want to make the club as welcoming for everyone, not just golfers, and we’re keen to make the club an ‘evening destination’ too. Customers tell us they love our food so we want to open up that experience to as many people as possible and create a welcoming, socially-distanced environment for everyone.”
Extensive works on the golf course are also taking place.

Course manager John Scurfield said: “The investment from the club into the course is amazing. It’s great to see so much activity and I feel these are very exciting times for the club,” said John. “We have embarked on a five-year bunker development plan.”

More than £100,000 has also been spent on specialist ground maintenance machinery.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 13, 2021 07:23
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