Mount Pleasant is a very popular, proprietary golf club situated on the border of Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire, four miles north of Hitchin.
The course has 9 greens with 18 very different tees and plays nearly 6,200 yards. There are some 250 members but ‘pay and play’ is also a very important part of the business.
Since opening in 1992 the course has matured and improved out of all recognition. It is renowned for its excellent presentation and its greens are arguable some of the best in the area. The course offers top quality golf to players of all abilities, with the choice to play either 9 or 18 challenging holes.
Unfortunately the off-course facilities no longer match the quality of the course. The current clubhouse is a converted cowshed. A small lounge bar was added in 1994 with showers and a new kitchen being added later. However, the clubhouse is no longer really fit for purpose.
In 2006 the three partners, David and Ruth Simkins and son, Gavin, who is also the Course Director, looked at how the Club could move forward. Many options were explored and it was decided to build a new, larger clubhouse in a preferred location, making use of the Club’s unusual position, namely, in the centre of a large village, adjacent to a busy road. The Club also has easy access to the A1 and M1 providing a highly desirable facility to many golfers and businesses.
New Clubhouse and Pro Shop
The clubhouse will provide much improved facilities for golfers. With the location of the new clubhouse directly in front of the last green, golfers can immediately relax into the lounge/bar area for that much needed refreshment after their round.
The clubhouse kitchen and bar will provide members and visitors alike with a relaxed and comfortable environment in which to enjoy freshly prepared home cooked food. There will be a full menu, daily specials board and an excellent value-for-money Sunday lunch, we are confident that there will be something to cater for all tastes.
There will also be two function rooms which will be available for hire for conferences, business meetings, training, seminars, team building, and parties. These rooms will be partitioned allowing them to become one room, to accommodate up to 80 people for a banquet or more for an informal gathering. Outside there will be a veranda covered by the roof canopy and an adjoining patio to allow for additional seating, with picturesque views of the course.
The building will be very environmentally friendly, with under floor heating throughout the building from air-source heat pumps and a bank of solar panels to assist with water heating. All runoff water from the site will be rooted to flow into the ditch system that feeds the pond used by the Club for irrigating the greens.
A separate Pro Shop will be built adjacent to the new clubhouse as part of the project. This will be built in the same style and colour as the clubhouse to provide an aesthetically pleasing look when playing the last hole. The Pro Shop will also have excellent views across the 9th/18th hole and the 1st and 10th tees to aid in tee management.
The Club are also improving the practice facilities as part of the ongoing changes. There will be a new larger practice tee built to make greater use of the 300 yard long driving range. This will further enhance the space available for group lessons and for anyone to practice before or after their game.
By the time planning permission was granted the financial climate had changed dramatically, with a full-blown recession. It was, however, déjà vu for the Partners as they had borrowed a six figure sum when the golf course was built in 1991, also during a recession! Interest rates then were around 16%!
Seven companies tendered for the project and the successful bid was from Interserve Plc. Interserve are a FTSE 250 company and they operate in the public and private sectors of the UK and internationally.
The total cost of the project will be in excess of £1million. A large portion of the funding is being provided by the Partners bank Yorkshire/Clydesdale through their commercial branch in High Wycombe. Whilst it is a difficult climate to raise funds in, interest rates are very favourable and quotes are very competitive.
The building work commenced on 2 November and the contract is for 28 weeks. Official opening will be July 2010
Mount Pleasant Golf Club www.mountpleasantgolfclub.co.uk