A two-time European Tour winner believes Foxhills’ new short-game practice area is up there with the best in the UK.
Recently-retired European Tour professional, Anthony Wall, was on hand to play his part in the opening of the new short-game area – the Practice Den – at the historic Surrey resort and provided a coaching clinic to test out the new practice bunkers, pitching and chipping areas.
Wall developed many of those basic skills as a teenager when he came through the Foxhills Foundation – the same junior development programme, which also helped nurture the talent of Paul Casey. After turning professional, Wall then went on to claim the 2000 Alfred Dunhill Championship, the 2016 Paul Lawrie Matchplay and 11th place in the 2006 The Open Championship, before calling time on an illustrious career last year.
But the man who received some individual short-game advice from one of the game’s greatest exponents – Seve Ballesteros – believes the new Foxhills facility stands tall alongside the very best in the country.
Wall said: “The Foxhills golf facilities must be one of the best in the country with two Championship courses, a short course for beginners and kids, along with two putting greens and now the new addition of an oversize Tour spec short-game area.
“It is designed to be able to practice all types of shots but, for me, one of the best things about the Practice Den is its position. Members or guests have to walk past it on the way to the range, so hopefully that will convince them to practice their short game a bit more. The short game too often gets ignored by amateurs but it is, without doubt, the best way of improving handicaps quickly.
“There are always different methods and the great thing about the Practice Den is the ability to work out what works for you. One of my best tips was from the great Seve: Play with soft hands and move some more weight onto your left side at address. I took that with me throughout my career but these are skills you need to work on and this is the ideal place to do it.”
The new floodlit area is 3,500 square metres with two practice bunkers, synthetic hitting areas and a 650 square metre green at a cost stretching well into six figures.
Developed alongside renowned golf club architects Edwards Design International, Foxhills director of golf & leisure, Chris Fitt said: “As we stand right now, I think our practice facilities are now the best in the region.
“Since we have made this investment, a number of other clubs have either begun projects or are thinking about starting projects. That’s inevitable I suppose, but I’m glad we were leading the charge.
“I’m really pleased with the end result. The green needs a little more time to bed in and the wildflower beds, plants, hedging and trees will become more established as time goes on so it will get even better.
“But we’ve got exactly what we wanted. Golfers at Foxhills no longer have any excuses to ignore their short game practice!
“It basically completes our offering. We have the nine-hole par three Manor course, nice driving range, two putting greens and now a bespoke chipping, pitching and bunker facility. There’s not much more a golfer of any ability could want or need.”
James Edwards told GBN: “Essentially, the most rewarding aspect of The Den was how we managed to turn a space the size of ‘foxes-den’ into a one acre, world-class short game academy. When we originally worked up the concept, we focussed hard on singling out the specimen pines and creating a new curved access route to compliment them which gives the facility its backdrop.”
Foxhills Club & Resort www.foxhills.co.uk
Edwards Design International www.edi-golf.com
Pictured top: from left James Edwards of Edwards Design International, Chris Fitt of Foxhills Club & Resort, Anthony Wall, David Wyborn, Foxhills course superintendent