Sherfield Oaks is the latest addition to the portfolio of American Golf (UK) Ltd. The golf club, on 440 acres with two 18-hole courses, is situated near the village of Sherfield on Loddon between Reading and Basingstoke.
The courses were designed by Simon Gidman, past president of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects (EIGCA). “Speaking as a golf course architect,” he said, “there are two important ingredients for a successful golf course development. One is an attractive site and the other is a good team of people all working towards the same, successful conclusion.”
The development followed a business plan, well-established in the world of commercial property development but so far unusual for a new golf project, in that the developers had signed up the operating company before the start of any construction work.
Roy Horton and Julian Covey are the businessmen behind the scheme. Their development company, Luddington Investments, has a long-term lease over the land and through their constructing arm, Test Valley Management, constructed the courses to the specification and demands of the eventual operating company, American Golf (UK) Ltd. The advantage of the arrangement lay in the fact that the end product and market segment was established before the course was even built.
Simon Gidman’s layout and details and any minor changes to plan were always discussed by all three parties, costed and then built accordingly. The confidence and trust derived from such a development were considerable.
American Golf (UK) are delighted with the development at Sherfield Oaks, both in respect of the overall golf facility, and also in the attention to detail that has been employed by the constructors, who also built the clubhouse and maintenance facilities.
American Golf’s head greenkeeper, Matthew Rolls, was in post early on, working closely with Test Valley Management and beginning intensive maintenance as soon as grass began to grow. As a result, by August 2002, the year following commencement of construction, the first of the two courses was ready for play and stayed open throughout the winter – not once going on to temporary greens – and one year later the second course opened – also on time.
Prior to entering into the long-term lease arrangement, American Golf had determined the operating philosophy and built its business plan accordingly. Sherfield Oaks is predominantly aimed at the frequent and casual itinerant golfer. There are also many options for corporate use and membership opportunities. Specifications had to be of the highest standards, the courses challenging to play, yet easy to maintain and visually attractive.
American Golf (UK) Ltd director, Bernard Bosworth, said, “Simon Gidman, Luddington Investments, and Test Valley Management exceeded our expectations with the delivery of a golfing product to meet the demands of our customers. Early revenues indicate that our customers are also having their expectations exceeded, proving that Sherfield Oaks is more than just golf.”
American Golf (UK) Limited is a subsidiary of American Golf Corporation, the largest golf operator in the world with over 260 properties. Since its establishment in the United Kingdom in 1993, American Golf (UK) Limited has grown dramatically and now operates 24 golf properties, several of which also include additional amenities such as hotel accommodation, spa and leisure clubs. American Golf is always looking to add to this portfolio of golf businesses.
Sherfield Oaks Telephone: 01256 884100 email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Simon Gidman www.gidmangolf.co.uk
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