Improvement and upgrade work continues apace at Kedleston Park, Derbyshire’s premier golf club, originally designed by five-time Open champion, James Braid.
Kedleston Park is a beautiful, mature parkland course set in peaceful countryside within the grounds of magnificent Kedleston Hall, a grand 18th century stately home just a few miles northwest of Derby city centre. The course was constructed by John Morrison and his team at Colt, Morrison & Alison in the late 1940s to a design originally penned by the renowned James Braid before the Second World War.
It has long been regarded as Derbyshire’s leading course, and indeed one of the finest tests of golf in the East Midlands. But ever aware of the competitive nature of today’s world, and the need to continually drive things forwards rather than resting on laurels, the club has recently embarked on an ambitious, yet sensitive, course improvement and upgrade programme under the expert guidance of Tom Mackenzie, of world-renowned golf course architects, Mackenzie and Ebert.
Among the company’s illustrious portfolio are seven of the current Open Championship venues, with Mackenzie and Ebert overseeing changes both major and more subtle in recent years in association with The R&A. They will also be overseeing all course changes required to facilitate Royal Portrush’s return to The Open rota in a few years’ time.
Mackenzie’s brief at Kedleston Park has majored on the reworking of some the course’s bunkers, mounds and greenside complexes, with 2013’s phase one seeing work on the 1st, 10th and 11th holes completed. Following the success of that initial phase, this winter’s phase two involves a more extensive programme taking in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 9th, 17th and 18th holes. Some bunkers are being reshaped and restyled; others repositioned; and others removed and converted into grass hollows or run-offs, with all benefiting from new drainage systems.
The aims of the upgrade programme are twofold: to improve the visual appeal of the holes as golfers stand over shots, and to enhance the course’s strategic and tactical demands, ensuring that good shots continue to be rewarded while miscues may lead to greater challenges.
“Kedleston Park has been highly regarded in Derbyshire and throughout the East Midlands for many years,” says Club Chairman, Ian Neal. “We wanted to take appropriate steps to ensure that it not only remains that way, but also becomes a course that golfers from further afield will have heard about and wish to visit as a result. We are convinced that the excellent work Tom Mackenzie is doing will not only provide our existing members with the calibre of course they deserve, but also help us to attract more members and visitors as word of the improvements spreads. We are all looking forward to seeing the fruits of these considerable labours next year.”
Mackenzie and Ebert www.mackenzieandebert.co.uk
Kedleston Park www.kedlestonparkgolfclub.co.uk
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