Mackenzie Wheeler Architects & Designers has designed a ‘European Tour Performance Institute’ (ETPI) for London Golf Club, so that the Club can meet the current training and teaching experience that golfers have come to expect at top venues.
The ETPI proposal, which includes the relocation of the Club’s existing driving range and provision of a new range building as part of this facility, will provide a dedicated training academy featuring private teaching suites with the latest golfing teaching technology, video analysis and diagnostic equipment. A planning application was submitted in April 2012.
A new nine-hole golf course is also proposed and will be created using cut from the hotel which was the subject of a previous planning application, consented in 2011. Mackenzie Wheeler were also architects for the proposed hotel, which has allowed an overall consistency of design and holistic approach to be taken to both these planned developments across the London Golf Club, situated in the Kent countryside.
The principal challenges in the development of a concept for the ETPI building within a proposed new golf landscape were to minimise the visual impact of what is necessarily a long building, in an otherwise open landscape; reduce the apparent mass of the building through choice of materials and colour; and enhance the appearance of the ‘open façade’ to the driving range.
As Duncan Mackenzie of Mackenzie Wheeler explains, “We think the tendency for the driving range element of similar installations to adopt a barn or other agricultural building form can backfire. So in this location we have adopted various techniques to make sure that the new building blends quietly into its environment.
“There is a tendency for driving range structures to be rather intrusive, adopting shed, barn or agricultural building forms. In this location we have applied some simple techniques to ensure that the building blends quietly into its environment.
These techniques include a preference for landscape over building, the use of lightweight or transparent materials where possible and adopting earth colours to exposed elements.”
“These techniques include the creation of a landscaped feature, so that parts of the building are earth-bermed, and using lightweight or transparent materials where possible, with earth colours to exposed forms.”
Arrival to the building from the existing golf clubhouse is provided by an underpass beneathSouth Ash Roadfor golf buggy and service access vehicles. This route also provides access from the consented hotel. A small parking and buggy area is located to the south of the building. The desire is that any structures should be inconspicuous and that the forecourt area should be arranged in clusters to allow for soft landscape treatment to dominate.
Austen Gravestock, General Manager said: “The ETPI proposals are aimed at future-proofing London Golf Club, so that we will be on a par with other leading golf centres inEurope. The scale and quality of our facilities will be unique within theUKand help us to attract international tournaments, building on our successful hosting of the European Open in 2010 and 2011.”
London Golf Club www.londongolf.co.uk
Mackenzie Wheeler Architects & Designers www.mackenziewheeler.co.uk