Swan Golf Designs has been appointed by Boyce Hill Golf & Country Club in Essex, England to conduct a detailed audit of their bunkering and to make recommendations for its improvement as part of a long-term renovation project.
Founded by a group of members from nearby Leigh Park Golf Club, golf was first played at Boyce Hill in 1922 on a layout designed by local professional F.G. “Joe” Steel. However, the course was redesigned by James Braid just three years later, with the reconstruction carried out by Taylor & Hawtree Ltd. The course has remained largely the same since, with only a few new tees and bunkers added over the years. Today, measuring just over 6000 yards, the course represents a stiff challenge to those looking to match the par score of 68.
Boyce Hill is now set to become the latest Braid designed golf course to be renovated under the guidance and supervision of Swan Golf Designs, joining a long list that includes The Downs Course at Goodwood, Tyrrells Wood Golf Club and Kingswood Golf & Country Club.
With the survey of the course already complete, the team at SGD is analysing the course and relevant details before formulating their recommendations.
Swan Golf Designs has begun the design of a new resort golf course around 80kms south-east of Kunming, the capital city of Yunnan Province in the south-west of China.
Located in the natural spring city of Mile, the new resort will bolster what is fast becoming a tourism hotspot with hotels and residential developments overlooking the one hundred hectare man-made lake. The local climate is well suited to golf, being reminiscent of the Mediterranean with subtropical fruit grown extensively and is particularly well known for its extensive vineyards.
SGD has been appointed to design and oversee the construction of golf course as well as to advise on the overall masterplan, which will include a hotel, spa and golf village. They will be working alongside partner organisations from the Golf Consultant’s Association who will be providing architectural and management services to the project.
The design brief focuses on a traditional golf theme in contrast to the American resort style of course that dominates China’s existing golfing stock.
Construction is scheduled to begin in late 2013, with an anticipated opening date autumn 2014.
Swan Golf Designs has always encouraged golf clubs to take a long term view of what must be considered their major asset, taking an holistic view of where the course has come from, where it is now and where it might be in five or ten years’ time. Unfortunately, we have not been successful in convincing all of our clients that such a long-term, strategic view is more beneficial for the golf course than focussing solely on solving individual problems. However, in some cases we have been, helping those clubs to set out renovation and improvement programmes that can be implemented over a timescale that means the best possible results are achieved without putting undue pressure on either club finances or maintenance staff.
Our ultimate aim is to not only leave our clients with improved golf courses, but to continue to work with them over a longer period to ensure that the return on their investment is maximised in the years following the renovation project.
And just such a situation has occurred at East Berkshire Golf Club, whereby SGD has been asked to carry out a review of the golf course five years on from our initial comprehensive audit and two years after the completion of a bunker renovation programme. The emphasis will be on measuring the project’s outcome against its defined objectives, making a judgement on the current status of the golf course, and identifying opportunities for further improvement. The review will be undertaken alongside Sue Davidge (General Manager), Matthew Nutter (Golf Course Manager) and Mike Nash (Chair of Green), with additional input from former officers of the club who were instrumental in the inception and implementation of the original report.
SGD has also carried out similar project reviews at Ely City Golf Club, Bentley Golf Club and Eagle Creek Resort in Orlando, Florida.
For the second year running Ely City Golf Club’s members will begin the golfing season playing an improved golf course following the completion of phase two of the golf course renovation designed and supervised by Swan Golf Designs.
Autumn 2012 saw the re-bunkering of the 7th, 8th and 9th holes as the renovation programme moved beyond the halfway stage. The new holes have recently been brought into play by Head Greenkeeper Andy Baker, and are posing a new set of challenges for the golfers at Ely City.
The golf course was extended from nine to eighteen holes in the late sixties by Alex Swan and Henry Cotton and has remained, essentially, unchanged since then. The renovation programme, conceived after a full appraisal and audit undertaken by SGD some three years ago, is being phased over five or so years and is focussed on a revised bunkering strategy designed to meet the playing and aesthetic expectations of members and visitors alike. Seven holes were revised in the first phase and met with outstanding acclaim from Cambridgeshire’s golfers, with the course being described as “the best in the county”. The second phase has seen significant changes on three holes, including the wholesale remodelling of the approach and surrounds to the 8th green.
Nefyn & District Golf Club, located on the Llyn Peninsula in North Wales, has embarked upon a golf course renovation project under the guidance of Swan Golf Designs.
The 26-hole layout is known the world over for its dramatic cliff-top position overlooking the Irish Sea having been thrust back into the spotlight when images of the course were used to promote Welsh golf in the run-up to the 2010 Ryder Cup. The famed holes played on The Point have been described as “like playing golf on the deck of an aircraft carrier” and must rank as one of the most picturesque golfing settings.
SGD has been working with the golf club for over two years on detailed, long-term plans that will prepare the course for the future, and it I these plans that are now being implemented. The work currently underway includes the renovation of bunkering on the New Course 11th and the introduction of an “Alternate 12th” on the Old Course which will enable golf to be played on The Point in all conditions.
Swan Golf Designs has been appointed to design what will be only the second golf course in Lebanon.
Having previously worked to renovate Lebanon’s sole golf course in the early 2000s SGD has been chosen to design the new course which will form part of a residential and commercial development just outside Beirut. Working alongside Khatib & Alami, one of the Middle-East’s largest multinational engineering firms, SGD will initially provide advice on the environmental impact and site layout as part of the permission process before moving on to the detailed golf course design.
The proposed site is located in the hills to the east of Beirut with views across the capital city to the Mediterranean beyond. The golf course will be set within the indigenous forest with holes sweeping through the valleys, making the most of the changes in elevation that the spectacular location affords.
Howard Swan, SGD’s Principal Architect, visited Brunei in December to continue the company’s promotion of flexible golf facilities. Following William Swan’s November address at the PGAs of Europe Annual Congress, Howard put forward a blueprint for the development of golf facilities at the 2012 Asia Pacific Golf Summit.
The presentation centred on SGD’s commitment to making golf more accessible, more in tune with modern lifestyles and more attractive to non-golfers, with the ultimate objective of helping to increase participation in the sport.
Over the past five years Swan Golf Designs has been promoting design-led solutions to help grow the game under the banner of FirstGolf, which aims to make the most of existing golf facilities and provide new, short courses close to centres of population.
Swan Golf Designs has begun work at The KP Club, North Yorkshire.
Set within the Yorkshire Wolds and overlooking the Vale of York, The KP Club has set its sights on becoming Yorkshire’s premier luxury golf and event destination. Having already developed an architecturally remarkable clubhouse and ten luxury lodges, Swan Golf Designs has been engaged to help elevate the golf course to the same 5* standard.
November 2012 has seen Howard Swan design an entirely new par-3 signature hole to sit alongside the second stage of lodge development as part of a project to double the accommodation on offer. The new 15th will not only provide an impressive view from the lodges, but will improve the flow and challenge of the 6035 yard par-70 layout.
Construction is underway on both the new golf hole and the lodges and is due to be completed in spring 2013, with SGD set to undertake a comprehensive review of the rest of the golf course in the new year.
Karnataka Golf Association’s course in Bangalore, re-designed and renovated by SGD three years ago, played host to the Indian Open Championship last month. It’s the first time in almost 50 years that the tournament has been held outside of Delhi and Kolkata. The choice of KGA as venue underlines the course’s number one status in India.
The 7227 yard par 72 layout in Bangalore was chosen to host the Championship because of its quality and its challenge to the highest ranks of the players on the Asian Tour. The course met with great accolade and praise from the professionals, the event organisers, the Indian Golf Union as well as the substantial number of members and other visitors who turned out to watch the four rounds.
Two players were tied after 72 holes with a very respectable score of 14 under. The play-off saw Thawan Wirachant overcome long-time tournament leader Richie Ramsay to win the coveted trophy.
Before the course was renovated it had suffered significant flooding during the monsoon rains, with holes being out of action for prolonged periods, much to the frustration of the membership. Swan Golf Design’s work was carried out in two phases using local contractors. The comprehensive renovation provided new greens, new tees, new bunkering, new drainage throughout and new irrigation. This, plus grassing with dwarf and 419 Bermudas and a colourful landscape treatment, has resulted in the highest quality of any golf course in India with, impressively, the course never once being closed.
SGD is working elsewhere in the country on the renovation of some of the older golf courses as well as on new projects. This includes a series of compact academies which will underpin the development of a population of budding Indian golfing stars.
Swan Golf Designs’ busy programme of autumn renovation projects has begun with the design of new short-game practice facilities at Gerrards Cross Golf Club.
Building upon the phased bunker renovation programme that was begun earlier this year, the short-game academy replaces a small chipping green which was no longer fit for purpose, and includes extensive shaping of the green surface and surrounds to simulate all the shots golfers are likely to find on the Gerrards Cross course and elsewhere. The design also includes a bunker reminiscent of those being installed on the golf course, although large enough to accommodate up to four golfers practising at any one time.
SGD are currently overseeing the academy’s construction which is being undertaken by Speedcut Contractors.