Mannings Heath Golf Club in West Sussex is undergoing one of the biggest changes in its 100 year history as the new owners convert one of the two 18-hole courses, the Kingfisher, to 9 holes and plant a vineyard on the 500 acre estate, to create a ‘wine experience’ at the 18th century manor and clubhouse, with wine tastings and fine food.
On the decision to convert the Kingfisher course, Penny Streeter, managing director of new owners the Benguela Cove group, says: “The enhanced 9-hole layout is more in keeping with the current demands for less time-invasive golf and will encourage youngsters into the game.”
“The changes will take place over time in several phases; this will include redesigning some of the holes, incorporation of alternative tees for a different back nine, a major upgrade of the practice facilities, including a short game area, and the building of a new pro shop. Our golf pros are very excited about these plans and, from the feedback, we are convinced that the decision is the right one.”
The 9-hole, 3314 yards Kingfisher course is a par 36, when played from the white tees, whilst the 2nd hole has expanded from a par 3 to a par 5 – so that the course is challenging for experienced golfers, whilst beginners can enjoy 9 holes in under 2 hours.
Players on the 18-hole championship Waterfall course and the Kingfisher benefit from new on and off-course facilities with brand new practice nets recently installed. There are also two putting greens, a practice range, indoor teaching facilities and a fully stocked pro shop.
The owners – who have a vineyard at Benguela Cove in South Africa, as well as two restaurants and a hotel – have changed the name of the club to ‘Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate’.
Penny Streeter, awarded the OBE for ‘services to enterprise’ in 2006 says: “We acquired the golf club at a time of general decline in golf participation across the UK. Our plan is to improve the golfing, club and venue experience for members and visitors, developing a ‘wine experience’.
“Wine and golf work very well together as a concept; we believe it will attract new members, visitors and tourists to the area. We plan to develop a winery and new restaurant, with the spike bar refurbished and re-opening as a wine tasting and spike bar facility, to create additional entertaining and post-golf space.”
Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate www.manningsheath.com