Following the recent acquisition of Oulton Park golf course from Leeds City Council, De Vere Hotels & Resorts has added another golfing destination to their illustrious portfolio. The championship course, which adjoins De Vere Oulton Hall is a welcome addition to the five star hotel, which is now set to become a leading golf destination in the north of England, with a huge investment project planned for the next 12 months.
Set in 350 acres of Yorkshire countryside, close to Leeds, De Vere Oulton Hall offers the perfect destination for keen golfers and non golfers alike. The venue is ideal for a golf break or corporate golf event, as the hotel boasts a 27 hole golf complex, 152 bedrooms, spa and leisure facilities, conference and banqueting for up to 350 delegates and a choice of dining options.
The Dave Thomas designed 27 hole championship complex, which surrounds the five star De Vere Oulton Hall estate, is host to the Leeds Cup – golf’s oldest professional tournament. De Vere are making a £7.5 million investment, which includes redevelopment of the golf course and facilities to ensure a memorable golfing experience which is synonymous with the De Vere brand.
The Oulton Park Golf Course was previously operated by Leeds City Council but, in September last year, the course and facilities, adjoining Oulton Hall, became part of the world-renowned De Vere portfolio of prestigious golf resorts, including: The De Vere Belfry, De Vere Slaley Hall, De Vere Carden Park and De Vere Mottram Hall, all of which have a pedigree in managing golf tournaments. Local residents will continue to have access to the facilities, with holders of the council issued Leeds Card, entitled to a reduction in green fees of up to 60% at peak times.
Over the next 12 months, the investment will improve all areas of the complex, including the addition of a luxury two-storey clubhouse featuring both informal and formal dining options, a large golf retail section, changing rooms, various golf services such as a bag drop and golf concierge, as well as an outside seating area, overlooking the 18th hole. An 800ft Mackenzie style putting green will also be created adjacent to the clubhouse, for golfers to practice their skills both before and after their round.
A new golf academy will include a specialised teaching facility, incorporating a state of the art computer swing analysis and golf club custom fit studio. Along with the swing analysis system, a golf simulator will also be included. The outfield is also set for a revamp, which will see a virtual reality target plan being implemented, including a specialised short game scoring zone.
A new purpose built maintenance compound, that will house the recently acquired new grass cutting machinery, is also in the pipeline. This modern facility will also be equipped with an environmentally friendly water recycling station. A fully equipped machinery work shop, chemical safe, seed store will also be included.
Once played as a mixture of three loops of 9 holes, Oulton Hall has refigured the course configuration to provide a championship 18 holes, called The Park and aimed at season ticket holders, corporate groups, hotel residents and green fee clients. The 9 hole Hall course will focus on the local market and new beginners, as well as being a unique facility for those who are restricted for time.
Golfers can join the season ticket scheme, which entitles them to unlimited rounds of golf, (subject to availability) along with various other benefits, including discounts on food and beverage, retail, tuition and buggy hire, as well as preferential guest rates. There are two schemes in operation, a seven day for daily play and a five day for play Monday to Friday. A junior season ticket is also available for children aged 10 – 17 years. The season ticket scheme has already attracted fantastic interest, with over 200 clients having signed up, of a maximum of 400 allocation. Popularity in the course is already exceeding expectations and is only set to grow.
De Vere Oulton Hall welcomed Wayne Topley as its new general manager in February this year. In just a few short months, Wayne has already put his mark on the property and is actively involved in raising the profile of the hotel’s golf facilities. “De Vere Oulton Hall has been regarded as one of the north’s finest hotels for many years now, in terms of facilities and quality. However, with the acquistion of the golf course, we have a fantastic opportunity to add to the exisiting facilities and create a superb resort destination,” said Wayne.
In the last 12 months, Oulton Hall has also welcomed the addition of three golf experts to their team. Keith Pickard joined De Vere as head of golf at Oulton Hall in August 2005 with a wide remit of responsibilities, including all areas of golf operation, retail, golf academy, golf services, membership, marketing, capital work projects, the golf courses and estate and budgets. His experience includes being part of the management team which was recruited to set up the golf operations at the five star Aphrodite Hills Golf Resort in Cyprus. Kieran O‘Brien was appointed as head teaching pro in March, following 11 years in the golf industry, in the UK and Ireland, including working as a golf advisor for Granada TV productions. Finally, Jim Brown is the new course and estates manager at the resort, with 17 years of experience which includes supervising the construction of two golf courses and managing the very successful Cookridge Hall Golf Club in Leeds, for six years.
De Vere Oulton Hall www.DeVere.co.uk