The new nine hole course extension, within the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, is being built by McGee Construction Group, based in North London. The golf course is due to re-open after a major redesign at the hands of Jonathan Gaunt.
The original nine hole course, which was formerly known as the Griffin Golf Club, and owned by Vauxhall Motors, served employees of the nearby Luton car plant. Extended to 18 holes in the early 1990s, it was bought by McGee Construction Group in 2008. GGD was hired shortly afterwards to extend the course to 27 holes.
“We generate a great deal of inert fill material from our core activities,” explained group director John McGee. “We have been involved in a couple of golf projects before as a provider of landfill material, but this is the first one that we have done ourselves. It fits in very nicely with our company philosophy, which is focused on recycling; we’d rather use material to create something new and valuable than just sticking it in a hole in the ground.”
Around 700,000 cu m of inert landfill has been imported to the Caddington site. Jonathan, who has been involved in a number of landfill-based golf projects before, said he felt the model was a good one. “Landfill is underrated as a means of building golf courses,” he explained. “There have been a number of pretty ordinary golf courses built using landfill, but recently we’ve seen some more ambitious projects emerge. When the golf architect is involved from the start of the project – rather than bringing him in once all the landfill has been placed – the results can be really impressive.”
“Around two thirds of the site is brand new, while the remaining third has been tweaked,” said McGee. The result is a full-size eighteen hole course, plus a nine hole academy loop comprised of one par four and eight par threes. “Eight holes on the main course are entirely new, while three more have been substantially altered,” said Jonathan. “On the academy course, six holes are new, while three have been rebuilt.”
The course was built by McGee’s own personnel, along with specialist shaper, Ian Futcher, and overseen by Jonathan, throughout. The Toro irrigation system was designed by Roger Davey of Irritech, and agronomist Bruce Jamieson advised on the project. “The build has been done to a very high standard – the McGee people are extremely good at what they do,” said Jonathan.
The course will open in phases: “The main eighteen should be ready for play in summer 2018, with the academy holes following either in the autumn or spring of 2019,” said Jonathan. “I am very confident about its prospects – the golf course itself is very strong, and a new village has been developed right next door on the former Vauxhall storage yard – the largest (ex) car park in Europe. Caddington has been a terrific project for us to be involved with, and McGee’s a great client. With landfill opportunities starting to pop up all over the country – in the past most sites were in the south of England – there are a number of possibilities for similar developments elsewhere.”
Photo credit: JG/Dale Housden