Gaunt Golf Design’s 18-Hole Course Upgrade
The first phase of the reconstruction works are now complete on the 18-hole “Wike Ridge” course at the Leeds Golf Centre in the sand belt of North Leeds, close neighbour to such famous and illustrious courses as Moortown, Alwoodley, Sandmoor, Headingley and Moor Allerton. The course was originally designed in the early 90’s by Donald Steel, the only golf course architect to have undertaken work on all Open Championship venues.
The owner, Park Lane Properties, a Leeds-based property developer of apartments and hotels in Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham, has been brave and forward thinking in its approach to providing golf for all at an affordable price, whilst not compromising on quality.
The new-look Wike Ridge course has had what could be considered to be a “kind-of facelift”, with the renovation of all sand bunkers, the introduction of new strategically-placed fairway and approach bunkers and the eradication of “pinch-points” which included the complete removal of original hole #2.
Other improvements include new tees on holes: #2, #3, #4, #5, #6, #7, #9, #12, #14, #15, #17 and #18; a new 394 yards, par-4 hole #3; a new dog-leg 384 yards, par-4 hole #4; a new 187 yards, downhill par-3 hole #5; and numerous new water features and hazards on holes #6, #9, #10, #12, #13, #14, #15 using a naturally-occurring existing ditch and a feature lake on 361 yards, par-4 hole #18. Together with these enhancements the course length has increased to 6534 yards, par 72.
During the course of the construction works 1,500 semi-mature trees (comprising Oak, Silver Birch, Ash, Field Maple, Pine and Rowan) were transplanted (from existing plantations) in-between fairways to further emphasise the design strategy and provide screening. This work was undertaken by Northern Tree Transplanters Limited, managed by Peter Robinson.
The golf course contractors were White Horse (Northern) Contractors Limited, based in Thirsk and managed by Jim Crabbe. The irrigation contractor is AV Irrigation Limited, managed by Andy Veltman and the agronomic advisor to Leeds Golf Centre is the Sports Turf Research Institute.