Seckford gets set for major facelift

GOLF: Seckford Golf Centre has signed up one of the game's best-known architects to review the layout of its course.Hawtree, which has worked with the likes of Royal Birkdale, is recommending a host of changes to the course, which is likely to include re-routing holes and working on greens, tees and bunkers to improve consistency.

GOLF

SECKFORD Golf Centre has signed up one of the game's best-known architects to review the layout of its course.

Hawtree, which has worked with the likes of Royal Birkdale, is recommending a host of changes to the course, which is likely to include re-routing holes and working on greens, tees and bunkers to improve consistency.

Although all the details have yet to be agreed, the first major change – which will start shortly – will be to switch the front and the back nine holes around, so that players start on the current tenth hole.

This will help speed up play and give golfers the chance to warm up properly at the start of their round, since the first few holes will now be longer par fours.

The switch will happen as soon as Seckford's new scorecards are printed – and these will reflect new yardages after each hole was re-measured.

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Bringing in Hawtree is the latest stage in a host of significant changes and improvements at Seckford in the past 18 months, which has seen the club becoming one of the most welcoming and relaxing in the region.

The clubhouse has been extended, with the introduction of the excellent Terrace restaurant (which is open to non-golfers), a conservatory and an enlarged professional shop.

The club has also introduced a range of excellent offers, including a winter golf special of a day's unlimited golf and two-course lunch for just £19.

Seckford general manager Nic Grundtvig said Hawtree's involvement was "excellent news" for the club.

"They have a superb reputation for golf course architecture and consultancy and Christian Robinson, the gentleman we are dealing with, has worked all over the world – including nine years designing with Gary Player.

"There will be a lot of work going on, but because of Hawtree's experience there will be no noticeable disruption in play throughout. This was very important to us and our members and guests.

"It is a very large investment on our part, but we know it will be well worth it. Once the work is complete we will have a vastly improved course, not just in terms of looks and consistency but also in terms of safety and the flow of play."

The alterations explain the huge build-up of soil along the side of the current 14th fairway. Remaking a tee, or reshaping a bunker takes a considerable amount of earth.

Seckford will also be introducing a yardage book for the first time shortly to further improve game play.

The condition of the course at Seckford has improved considerably, with head greenkeeper Paul Durrant making excellent use of new equipment purchased by the club last year. Such is the condition that Pro-Ams and big golf days, such as Sir Bobby Robson's charity golf day in September, are now part of its calendar.

Hawtree was first established in 1912 and famously transformed Birkdale in the 1930s into the glorious course that it is now. It has also worked recently on the Royal Dublin and Lahinch courses – both now Open qualifier venues.

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