Two years ago the Goodwood Estate took back the day-to-day management of the Goodwood Golf Club and formed a new club known as “The Goodwood Club”. Now, in conjunction with leading golf course architects, Swan Golf Designs, the original 1914 James Braid classic downland course has undergone a major £1 million plus, 18-month long, renovation – the first in its 90-year history – with the aim of establishing it as one of the finest 18-hole golf courses in the south of England and the best `downland‘ course in the British Isles.
The extent of the renovation work is considerable. The construction budget was £900.000 with an additional £275,000 for irrigation. All the greens and all the tees have been rebuilt using the latest design principles, and all 77 bunkers have been renewed and repositioned to maximum advantage. The course now stretches to all but 7,000 yards from the championship tees and a brand new automated and computer-controlled irrigation system has been installed to maintain optimum playing conditions on the greens, tees and traditional downland fairways throughout the year.
Working with Swan Golf Designs were the specialist golf course constructors, John Greasley Limited, irrigation designers, 2iC Irrigation and irrigation contractors, Turf Irrigation Scotland.
There are six completely new holes and the remaining twelve holes have been rejuvenated or remodelled. A new tunnel for golfers and buggies has been built under the road, safely connecting the clubhouse and three of the holes (1,17 & 18) with the remainder of the course.
During the renovation work, the original Braid green for the 5th hole was “rediscovered” in a natural and enclosed amphitheatre and with the help of modern techniques has been restored in its original and magical setting.
The course has also benefited from extensive new landscaping to enhance its already stunning location and panoramic views from the top of the South Downs through the beautiful Target Bottom valley to the Solent and Isle of Wight beyond. A new lake has been built near the 17th hole and importantly, the start and finish are now on the same side as the Grade I listed clubhouse.
Lord March, Chairman of The Goodwood Club, commented, “After nearly 18 months of extensive renovation work and with the course project now nearing completion, we are delighted with the results achieved and the very encouraging comments and feedback we are receiving from our members, visitors and golf aficionados alike. With over three hundred years of sporting history on the estate, including top class international flat horseracing, motor racing, cricket, golf, flying, hunting and shooting, it is wonderful to see this authentic classic downland course restored and improved to become what we hope will be the finest downland course in the country.
“With the course renovation work completed, we hope next spring to move on to the restoration and concluding project for The Goodwood Club, namely the clubhouse, a magnificent Grade I listed building designed by James Wyatt in the 18th century which we hope to restore to its original Georgian splendour.”
Howard Swan said, “My role, and that of my colleagues, has been to translate Lord March’s wishes into reality – a great privilege to take James Braid’s spirit and his design and to bring it to the modern day and point it into the future to meet the expectations of the player, to meet the technological advance in equipment, to create a challenge to the wide range of golfer who will come to Goodwood, to create excitement and enjoyment, and spectacle and satisfaction, and, last but not least, to conserve and enhance the wonderful feeling of nature, of a valuable environment in which the game at Goodwood can be played
The Goodwood Club www.goodwood.co.uk
Swan Golf Designs www.swangolfdesigns.com