North Tyneside Council has granted planning permission to HG&L Newcastle Ltd for the development of the £13m Wallsend Golf Centre at Centurion Park in Newcastle.
The innovative leisure facility combines a full-length driving range with a radical redesign of the existing golf course, which will enable six, 12 and 18-hole rounds. It also includes a substantial investment in comprehensive drainage and other measures, including two water features and new planting to enhance biodiversity.
At the heart of the facility will be the £13m Golf Centre, combining the facilities of a traditional driving range with state-of-the-art virtual reality digital technology. The tracking equipment transposes players’ shots onto digital screens, which can show a number of virtual reality games or a selection of world-renowned golf courses. The technology enables complete novices to learn to play golf, having fun playing different games whilst experienced players can practice, enjoying playing different courses in a virtual reality mode or be coached by the Centre’s Academy.
The two-storey building has been designed by Newcastle-based Nicholson Nairn Architects and is to be built by Robertson Construction. It will have 54 bays, a sports bar and restaurant, pro shop, golf academy, function/meeting rooms and associated offices. The building will also provide a new clubhouse for the Wallsend Golf Club, with locker rooms and changing facilities linking directly with the course. There will also be off-street parking facilities.
The Centre will be home to a new PGA Golf Academy for all golfers, but aimed particularly at local young people, who may not otherwise have been able to access the game. A team of PGA qualified coaches will support all golfers from entry level to elite amateurs and aspiring professionals. It will also offer the possibility of joining the Academy’s scholarship programme, with a strong emphasis on inspiring girls and women to take up golf.
Phil Harrison, Director of HG&L Newcastle Ltd, commented: “We’re obviously delighted to have planning consent for what we believe will be the finest leisure facility of its kind in the country. In addition to the new range, we have also completely redesigned the golf course in line with the latest PGA thinking to reverse the decline of traditional golf clubs by attracting new members to new forms of the game. Our model, combining a state-of-the-art driving range with the redesigned course, will welcome a whole new range of players. Through the Golf Academy, we are committed to developing the region’s golfers, both young and old.”
Chris Sanderson, Managing Director of STR Enterprises Ltd, which will manage the facility, added: “Centurion Park is the perfect site for us to launch the new concept and the end result will be an innovative and professionally designed course with a truly superb facility in the Golf Centre, providing some 100 jobs. It will also create a £4m per year local supply chain when fully operational, in addition to the 60 jobs created by the construction period.
“The development not only secures the long-term future of golf at Centurion Park, but will also become a major visitor attraction in its own right, drawing both golfers wanting year round facilities and families and young people new to the game. Its use as a corporate hospitality and community venue brings further benefit to the area. We’re very grateful to our team of professional advisers and Robertson Construction, who have so strongly supported the project. We now look forward to delivering a great new venue for the benefit of golfers and the wider community in North Tyneside and beyond.”