Golf Course Architecture - Issue 56: April 2019

40 C M Y CM MY CY CMY K Construction work is in full progress to create a “memorable and remarkable” course at Whittington Heath Golf Club in Lichfield, England, overseen by golf course architect Jonathan Gaunt. The project is required to accommodate the new ‘HS2’ high speed railway line. “It goes right through the entire ninth hole – from tee to green – and it severs the eighteenth hole in two,” said Gaunt. “HS2 also affects the second, third, sixth, seventh and tenth holes.” The first nine holes of the course were built in 1886, and in 1929 it was redesigned and extended to 18 holes by Harry Colt. Gaunt’s design will reroute some of the existing holes and create five entirely new holes on adjacent farmland. “The project involves the reconstruction of significant features on the existing course, including some new greens, all the bunkers, new tees, and some remodelling of green surrounds,” said Gaunt. “There will be five new holes on new land as well as a new practice area, short game practice zone and putting green.” Construction work began in early January 2019. Eighteen holes will be kept in play throughout the project and contractor John Greasley Ltd – headed by Charlie Greasley – is working with four specialist shapers to complete as much work as possible on the existing course by the start of April. “At that point, they will start work on the new land,” said Gaunt. “At the end of September, they’ll drop back onto the existing course to finish any remaining work. Construction work will continue until March 2020. “We’re looking to bring back a much more open, heathland character to the golf course, with wider views of the landscape, as it would have been when Harry Colt was working there in the 1920s. We expect that when the golf course establishes, it will begin to take on that ‘Golden Age’ look – broad expanses of hinterland with rolling features and dramatic areas of wilderness edging into the playing areas. “We’re creating something that isn’t just a golf course, it’s going to be an entirely new habitat,” said Gaunt. “The new land has been intensively farmed for the last 100 years, so we’re transforming it from a monoculture – growing wheat, barley, potatoes and carrots [depending upon the year] – to a mixed landscape of native grasses, acid grassland, heathland, woodland, wetland areas, eco-ponds, open sandy scrapes and grassy waste areas.” Read GCA’s full article and interview with Jonathan Gaunt at . Whittington Heath project to bring back Golden Age look Photo: Jonathan Gaunt