A planning application has been sent to North Tyneside Council for a major revamp of Wallsend Golf Club in Newcastle upon Tyne.
The £13 million project will include the reconfiguration of the existing golf course and the development of a new golf centre based around its driving range and new technology.
Harrison Golf and Leisure have reapplied to North Tyneside Council for planning permission for a golf-based leisure facility at Centurion Park after initially being turned down in March due to environmental concerns. If this second application is successful, the new facility will be open in the autumn of 2021.
The Centurion Golf Centre concept is designed to deliver golf to a younger and more diverse market by looking to combine a full-length driving range with a radical reconfiguration of the golf course, which will enable 6, 12 and 18-hole formats, and a substantial investment in comprehensive drainage and other measures, including two water features and new planting to enhance biodiversity.
At the heart of the facility will be the £13m Centurion Golf Centre, combining the facilities of a traditional driving range with state-of-the-art virtual reality technology. The advanced digital technology tracking equipment from Foresight UK, transposes players’ shots onto digital screens which can show a number of virtual reality games or a selection of world-renowned golf courses.
The two storey building has been designed by Newcastle-based Nicholson Nairn Architects and, upon planning permission, is to be constructed by Robertson Construction, relying almost entirely upon a local supply chain of sub-contractors. It will have 54 bays over two floors, each fitted with an automated golf ball dispensing system.
Additional facilities extending to the rear of the bays contain a sports bar and restaurant, pro shop, changing facilities, golf academy, kitchen, function/meeting rooms and associated offices. The building will also provide the new Wallsend Golf Club locker rooms to provide natural linkage with the course, while the application also includes off-street parking facilities, accessed from the adjacent West Street.
Phil Harrison, Director of HG&L Newcastle Ltd, commented: “We were extremely disappointed when our original application was refused at the start of the Coronavirus lockdown, but have taken all the objections on board and repositioned the range to face west along the Coast Road. We have also completely redesigned the golf course in line with the latest PGA thinking to reverse the decline of traditional golf clubs by attracting new members to new forms of the game.
“The centre is a fantastic concept, which is attractive not only to experienced golfers who can use it as a traditional driving range to practice, a coaching aid or just the fun of playing different courses in a virtual reality mode, but also to complete novices who can learn to play golf here whilst still having fun playing different games.
Chris Sanderson, Director of STR Enterprises Ltd, who will manage the facility added, “Centurion Park is the perfect site for us to launch the new concept and the end result will be an innovative and professionally designed course with a truly superb facility in the Golf Centre which will provide some 100 jobs and create a £4m per year local supply chain when fully operational in additional to the 60 jobs created by the construction period.
“The development not only secures the long term future of golf at Centurion Park, which is currently stagnating with falling membership, but will also become a visitor attraction in its own right, drawing both golfers wanting year round facilities and families and young people new to the game. Its use as a corporate hospitality and community venue adds further value. “
The Wallsend facility will the first in the UK with HG&L intending to launch further sites nationwide in the near future. Upon a successful application, construction can begin later this Autumn, allowing the Centurion Golf Centre facility to open in Autumn 2021.