Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate is planting 38,000 vines within the 500 acre parkland site at Horsham in West Sussex to create England’s newest vineyard. The Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Pinot Meunier grapes will be ready to make sparkling wine in 2020, with the first bottles available in 2023.
Zimbabwe-born Penny Streeter OBE is a British entrepreneur who bought the Mannings Heath site in 2016 to develop the UK’s first golf and wine estate, with tastings and pairings. Once a homeless divorcee with three children, she was awarded the OBE for ‘services to enterprise’ in 2006.
“We are recreating a South African-style wine tourism experience, where people can enjoy golf and a day out in a beautiful parkland estate, with fine wines, good food and an entertaining events programme,” she says.
The 100 year-old clubhouse at Mannings Heath Golf Club and Wine Estate features the new Benguela Brasserie and wine tasting bar, hosting wine-themed events including food pairings with chocolate and cheese, open to the public all year round.
In 2016 members of Mannings Heath Golf Club saw one the biggest changes in its 100 year history. The new owner converted one of the two 18-hole courses, the Kingfisher, to 9 holes and started the planting of the vineyard within the 500 acre estate.
The enhanced 9-hole layout meets the current demand for less time-invasive golf and will encourage youngsters into the game, says the estate’s general manager Adam Streeter: “Our golf pros are very excited about the plan and, from the feedback, we are convinced that the decision is the right one.”
The changes include redesigning several holes and an upgrade of the practice facilities, including a short game area.
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 additional on and off-course facilities. There are also two putting greens, a practice range, indoor teaching facilities and a fully stocked pro shop. The spike bar was recently upgraded and has re-opened as a wine tasting and spike bar facility, to create additional entertaining and post-golf space.
The design of the Waterfall course was influenced by renowned designer Harry Colt. This makes the Waterfall a true test for every golfer and the better players have difficult decisions to make throughout the round, says Adam Streeter:
“The Waterfall features regularly in the Top 100 Courses in the UK. It benefits from near total seclusion; the tree-lined aspect of the course gives a feeling of complete privacy, rarely found on modern courses. Sited in a valley, it offers some excellent changes in elevation to the tees and greens. Views of the landscaped parkland from holes such as the 13th green are ones to cherish.”
Visitors to Mannings Heath can book wine tastings and food pairings, with chocolate and cheese, as well as lunch, teas and dinner. There are conference and banqueting facilities for corporate events, parties, weddings and other celebrations.
Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate www.manningsheath.com