In January 2009, Gaunt Golf Design undertook a complete audit of the existing 18-hole course at Dyrham Park G&CC, which was originally designed by C.K. (Ken) Cotton and opened for play in 1963. A detailed hole-by-hole report was prepared, together with an illustrated masterplan, commenting on all aspects of the course and recommending significant improvements in design, strategy, challenge and aesthetics.
This report was the first stage of the course redevelopment programme, named the “Jubilee Project”, to celebrate the Club’s first 50 years, in 2014. This work has involved the significant remodelling of holes #3, #4, #6, #9, #10, #11, #13, #17, #18, a new practice ground and a new short game practice area with an undulating putting/chipping green, bunkers and grassy hollows and mounding.
The “Jubilee Project” has been funded by another Dyrham Park G&CC development project – a 9-hole academy course – which is being built using “soil recovery” – inert soils sourced and recovered from local construction sites under strict Environment Agency monitoring guidelines. Using this method it enables the new 9-hole course and all improvements on the 18-hole course to be cost-neutral. The academy course, which is designed to be played in 1½ hours, is sympathetically routed through undulating parkland, with attractive veteran Oaks scattered throughout. There are new challenging water features being proposed for aesthetic, strategic and hydrological reasons throughout the new course layout. In addition, there are tracts of native acid grassland being established – to extend and integrate the new course within the County Wildlife Site which is currently outside the parkland boundary.
The imported inert soils enable the course features to be formed and raised above what are currently poorly drained fields. Drainage of the golf course is meticulously designed to ensure that surface water run-off is minimized and no flood risk occurs offsite. In fact, all water will be managed through thoughtfully designed swales and shallow open ditches and collected in a series of ponds and lagoons and then re-cycled, thus providing an excellent and sustainable source for the irrigation system.
The academy course construction work is planned for completion in Autumn 2018 and opening for play the following year. The main contractor is Knowl Hill Limited, based in Kent, working with Frank Lovell.
Photo credit: Dyrham Park Golf & Country Club