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.
Swan Golf Designs has been chosen to design the new golf course at Channels Golf Club in Chelmsford, Essex.
After receiving outline planning permission to build 750 new homes on the site of the existing golf course, Clifford Leisure has appointed SGD to design the new course to be located on land immediately north of the original eighteen holes. Having guaranteed its members that the new course will be at least equal standard as the existing, the owners of Channels have given Swan Golf Designs the brief of making it the best in Essex as part of the recently launched Clifford Estate.
SGD will be working alongside land promotion specialists Ptarmigan Land and London based architects John Thompson & Partners to ensure that the project sets a new benchmark for golf and residential developments in the UK.
William Swan adds:
“We’re delighted to be working with the Clifford Group on this exciting project. Channels has earned a reputation as one of the premier golf clubs in Essex since opening in 1974, and the team at SGD is proud to have been chosen as golf course architects for the new course with an opportunity to create one of East Anglia’s finest layouts. ”
The new course is scheduled to open in the summer of 2015, when the existing course will be retired and redeveloped.
Swan Golf Designs has been appointed as golf course architects to the My Time Golf group, which now operates 19 centres in the South, South East and Midlands focusing on the development and operation of former public and proprietary golf courses. The group is part of My Time Active, a charitable organisation, and has the stated aim of reinvesting its returns to promote social equity and advantage to communities in the game of golf.
My Time’s philosophy is very much in line with SGD’s ethos of helping to increase participation in golf through the provision of innovative facilities that make the game more accessible whilst also providing opportunities to existing golfers to develop their skills.
SGD commences its work for MyTimeGolf at the Orpington Golf Centre in Kent, where the existing facilities comprising driving range, 45 holes and a short course, will be appraised and evaluated before a development plan is formulated to set out potential improvements and, perhaps, expansion.
Swan Golf Designs has been appointed as golf course architects to Corhampton Golf Club, Hampshire.
Set high upon England’s South Downs, Corhampton Golf Club has provided a stiff challenge to golfers and fine views across the south coast for over 120 years. The 6398 yard course, much of which is laid out in a traditional “English Common” style, boasts many ancient yew trees that typify the chalk down landscape.
This summer Corhampton have selected SGD to carry out a full audit of the golf course, with a clear focus on retaining its status as one of Hampshire’s toughest tests. The audit will focus on improving the playing strategy, developing the practice facilities and restoring the downland landscape, but will also include a thorough analysis of the layout, its safety, and the design and condition of its greens, tees and bunkers.
SGD’s appointment at Corhampton follows previous renovation programmes at other South Downs courses, including Goodwood, Royal Eastbourne and The Dyke.
Swan Golf Designs has recently been appointed as golf course architects to Spalding Golf Club, Lincolnshire.
Spalding, known as “The Heart of The Fens”, is well known for being the home of the barcode and its annual tulip parade as well as for its agricultural and horticultural industry. But Spalding’s hidden treasure is its golf club, dating back to 1907, and the 18-hole golf course which is regarded as one of Lincolnshire’s best.
The course at Spalding has seen many changes over the years, with much of the original back nine lost to the war effort in the 1940s. Since then the course has been expanded as adjacent land has become available to now stand as a testing par 72 at 6527 yards. Despite the numerous alterations Spalding has retained many of the original features which characterise the golf course, including the memorable par-4 2nd hole that requires a drive across the River Glen before an approach over former salt excavations.
Sandwiched between two major drainage rivers Spalding Golf Club enjoys its status as a small oasis in the middle of South Lincolnshire’s Deeping Fen. However, with a keen eye on the future, the golf club have set about creating a long-term development plan and have employed Swan Golf Designs to help them achieve their goals for the golf course. SGD’s work is now underway with an initial assessment of the course’s design, condition and performance, from which recommendations for improvements will be derived. These will include how best to manage water, both in terms of removing it from playing surfaces and recycling it for use in the irrigation system, as well as identifying opportunities to lengthen the course and better define its playing strategy.
Swan Golf Designs has been appointed by Basildon Borough Council to identify a way forward for publicly owned Basildon Golf Course.
After a bumpy few years for the 6236yard, 18 hole layout built in 1967, the course has reopened under the management of Warehouse Sports. With the condition of the course being brought up to standard local golfers are returning to play at Basildon, which enjoys a mature parkland landscape and views across the Thames estuary.
However, Basildon Borough Council is aware of the potential of their golf course, located less than a mile from the town centre. With this in mind, SGD has been brought in to ascertain how the course can be improved, and how the facility can be improved to offer a wider range of golf-related activities. These are likely to include long and short-game practice facilities, a beginners’ course and adventure golf.
A detailed analysis of the golf course is now underway, with recommendations due to be presented to the Council in early June.
As the April showers give way to the start of the great British summer, two of SGD’s client clubs are enjoying learning new putting lines on rebuilt greens.
East Berkshire Golf Club is back playing on their rebuilt 8th and 9th greens, with the 10thgreen due to return to play over the coming weeks. This follows their rebuilding, undertaken by John Greasley Ltd under the guidance of Swan Golf Designs. This process included new drainage, rootzone and turf following subtle modifications to the design of the greens to enhance the putting challenge.
In Essex, the members of Bentley Golf Club are enjoying the ahead of schedule opening of the redesigned 17th green. The project, led by Howard Swan, saw the complete renovation of the penultimate hole with major tree work opening up the site for the raised green, sweeping surrounds and three new bunkers. Early reports suggest that the remodelled hole presents a formidable test with pars at the long par-3 at a premium.