Construction on a new golf course at Channels Golf Club should begin later this month after the Swan Golf Designs (SGD)-negotiated planning permission was granted in late February.
The new-look course, at Little Waltham, near Chelmsford, will see a modern, 18-hole course, designed for golf in the 21st century, with more water and buggy paths. The course – which will be immediately to the north of the current site – will feature 13 new holes, while five from the existing design will be adapted to complete the lay-out.
And, as part of the design brief, SGD will keep 18 holes open at all times in order to minimise disruption to the club’s large membership.
William Swan, SGD director and the family’s third generation of golf course designers, believes construction on the course will begin in the next four to six weeks – with the new-look 6,670-yard, par-72 Channels course fully open by 2017.
He explained: “Over the last couple of years we have been working through the detailed planning application process which has involved consulting with Chelmsford City Council, Essex County Council and the Environment Agency, as well as several other environmental, ecological and archaeological consultants.
“Throughout this process we’ve been making minor design alterations to the proposed golf course layout to take into account their advice but without compromising the objective of producing the finest golf course in Essex. Our brief is to provide a golf course fit for the 21st century, as the sport has, of course, taken massive strides technically in the last 30 years.”
The site of Channels Golf Club – originally Channels Farm – can be traced back as far as the Domesday Book, where, in 1086, the manor of 225 acres had pasturage for 50 sheep and 10 goats.
In 1975 Channels opened its first nine-hole golf course and then, two years later, on June 7, 1977, the Silver Jubilee bank holiday, opened its second nine to make it an 18-hole course. In April 1994, the new 18-hole layout was opened while the original holes constituted a further nine-hole course: Belsteads.
SGD is an independent and professional golf course architecture firm with a track record of providing clients with successful design solutions on golf course projects for more than 40 years.
Borne out of the successful golf course designs undertaken by Alex Swan with three-time British Open Champion Sir Henry Cotton and continued by Alex’s son, Howard, and grandson, William, SGD has established itself as a leader in the field.
Based in the UK, SGD has earned commissions on four continents having designed or renovated courses from the UK to the USA, Brazil to Bosnia, Czech Republic to China, Iceland to India and Spain to South Africa among many others.
It is currently engaged by more than 20 golf clubs across Europe and the Middle-East on everything from single-hole redesign to the design of new international golf resorts.
The company’s portfolio includes Bundoran in Ireland; Holywood and Clandeboye in Northern Ireland; Golf & Country Club Bled, and Grad Otocec in Slovenia; Golf at Goodwood, East Berkshire and Huddersfield GC, in England; the Karnataka Golf Association in Bangalore, India; Boavista Golf Resort in Portugal; Dolina Kardinala, and Zagreb Golf & Country Club, in Croatia; and the Eagle Creek Golf Community, in Orlando, Florida.
Channels Golf Club www.channelsgolf.co.uk
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