Chesfield Downs Golf Club (new 27 hole golf course designed by Jonathan Gaunt in early 1990) gets The Poulter Factor!

October 10th, 2012

Chesfield Downs Golf & Country Club, which is part of the Crown Golf group and the club Ian Poulter joined as a junior in 1992, made national TV news headlines this week when it found itself in the spotlight following Ian Poulter’s inspiring performance at Medinah, which gave the European Team the momentum it needed to retain the Ryder Cup in the USA.

Click on the following link to read the full Golf Business News article

                  Chesfield Downs Golf Club – Hole #3

Ilkley Golf Club – New Course Flyover – Commentary by Mark James

September 10th, 2012

Ilkley Golf Club have added a  new course flyover to their website with commentary by Club Member and English Professional Golfer, Mark James.

Please click on the New Course Flyover tab on the Ilkley Golf Club home page to view one of the most picturesque courses in the country and the latest course improvements, as advised  by Jonathan Gaunt following a  full course audit in 2011 – see link below.

Construction work is back on track at Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club in County Durham

August 28th, 2012

Golf Business News publish the latest news on the contruction works for the new 18-hole championship standard golf course at Ramside Hall Hotel & Golf Club in County Durham.

Read the Golf Business News article at:

Leeds Golf Centre “Wike Ridge” course – Phase 1 of the reconstruction works are now complete

August 14th, 2012

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.

Gaunt Golf Design’s new 18-hole golf course extension – owned and operated by Ramside Estates Limited

June 7th, 2012

Ramside Hall Hotel and Golf Club, County Durham’s leading golf resort, has started work on a new £15m development including an 18-hole championship golf course, spa, leisure centre and hotel expansion. 

The 27-hole golf resort and four star hotel is situated on the outskirts of Durham City and is owned by Ramside Estates Ltd, the largest privately owned hospitality group in North East England.
Ramside Hall Estates director, John Adamson, said: “We are pressing ahead with plans to give County Durham a first-class golf resort that it can be proud of. Ramside is already considered among the finest golf destinations in the North of England and by expanding the hotel and creating a new course we are polishing our golfing diamond.” 

The course, designed by Gaunt Golf Design, is the only new golf course development planned for completion in England in 2012. Jonathan designed and supervised the construction of the original 27 holes at Ramside Hall, which opened in 1996.

To create the new course Jonathan will revamp four of the existing Cathedral Course holes, retire five existing holes, and add 14 new holes on former agricultural land near the villages of Pittington and Belmont. The new course will measure a little more than 7,200 yards from the back tees, have a par of 72, and be made up of four par 5’s, four par 3’s and ten par 4’s. Construction began in March and all new 18 holes will be completed by November 2012.

This site is really special. It is a mature and established piece of land with lots of elevation changes, a sense of rural remoteness and natural water features including becks and streams. From the 10th tee there is a view of Durham’s iconic Norman Cathedral which dates from 1093 and is considered one of the greatest religious buildings in the world – as a contrast, from the 16th fairway one can see the “Angel of the North” – possibly the most recognizable contemporary sculpture in the British Isles.

The development also includes 34 executive houses in secluded and picturesque locations bordering the golf course, the construction of which will begin in Summer 2012.

The golf course and leisure complex is expected to be completed and opened by September 2013, when Ramside Estates Ltd celebrates its 50th anniversary as a business.

Click link below to read Q&A interview  with Jonathan about the golf course development at Ramside, published in Global Golfer.

Gaunt Golf Design complete course audit at Harrogate Golf Club – course improvements to be undertaken over the next five years.

February 28th, 2012

Harrogate Golf Club - hole #18

Gaunt Golf Design have recently completed a full audit of the Sandy Herd/Harry Colt/Alister MacKenzie designed course at Harrogate Golf Club, set on an undulating site, which was once open moorland, overlooking the attractive north Yorkshire town of Ripon, to the north-east of Harrogate. The work has involved assessing all aspects of the golf course which has undergone some renovation over recent years including advice from Jonathan Gaunt in the mid-1990’s.

The recommendations include new tees complexes, greens surrounds, water features, the renovation of all bunkers, improvements to practice facilities and a significant amount of woodland management (clearance of parkland-style plantations) to restore the native moorland characteristics. Some original Colt/MacKenzie mounding, bunkering and featuring has been well-preserved, but some has been disguised with dense blocks of gorse.  The work is scheduled to be undertaken over the next five years, with Phase 1 starting in Spring 2012.

Harrogate Golf Club - hole #18

Gaunt Golf Design complete full course audit at Headingley Golf Club – course improvements to be undertaken over the next five years.

February 28th, 2012

Headingley Golf Club - Hole #16 green

Gaunt Golf Design have recently completed a full audit of the Harry Colt/Alister MacKenzie (and later Hawtree) designed course at Headingley Golf Club, which was established in 1907 and is set on a beautiful undulating heathland/moorland site to the north of Leeds. There are some stunning examples of Colt and Mackenzie’s finest work on bunkers and greens, however, some aspects have been lost or, sadly, unsympathetically modified over the years.

The work has involved assessing all aspects of the golf course on a hole-by-hole basis and producing a masterplan, detailing recommendations that include new tees complexes, greens and surrounds, water features, the renovation of all bunkers, improvements to practice facilities and a complete new hole #4. The work is scheduled to be undertaken over the next five years, with Phase 1 starting in Spring 2012.

Headingley Golf Club - Hole #17 green


Headingley Golf Club - hole #17 green

Ilkley Golf Club – work has started on Phase 2 of the course improvements

February 15th, 2012

Gaunt Golf Design undertook a course audit at Ilkley Golf Club in Summer 2010 and then prepared a comprehensive masterplan advising upon improvements to tees, bunkers, greens, landing areas and woodland management. 

Following completion of the Phase 1 works last year, Phase 2 of the course redevelopment is now underway on the Alister MacKenzie designed course  on the banks of the River Wharfe in West Yorkshire. The course, once home to Alister MacKenzie as a member before he went to Alwoodley GC in Leeds, is undergoing a bunker renovation programme and this year the work is concentrated on holes #4, #5, #14, #17 and #18. Hole #15 was completed in 2011.

Renovation of Holes #17 and #18 are now complete, see photographs below:

Ilkley GC - Hole #17 - right-hand approach bunker

Ilkley GC - Hole #18 - left-hand fairway bunkers

Park Hall Golf Resort, Mansfield Woodhouse, UK – Planning Consent granted in December 2011

February 14th, 2012
Park Hall Golf Resort showing proposed golf course, clubhouse and lodges

Park Hall Golf Resort showing proposed golf course, clubhouse and lodges

In December 2011 planning consent was finally granted for another new 18-hole Gaunt Golf Design project, the Park Hall Golf Resort, based in Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire for Vital Property Limited. The course is a par 69, 5623 yards only, short by modern standards, but it’s carefully and thoughtfully designed with water features, woodland and strategic bunkering. It will  be challenging to play because there are some bold changes in level – provided by the existing topography. Also planned is a modern golf clubhouse, boutique hotel, rentable apartments/suites in the adjacent Park Hall Mansion and 16 private lodges overlooking the golf course.
Click on link below to view Park Hall Golf Resort’s website: 

Leeds Golf Centre, Wike, Leeds, West Yorkshire – Construction starts on Gaunt Golf Design’s 18-Hole Course Upgrade

January 24th, 2012

Construction underway at Leeds Golf Centre

Jonathan Gaunt, Senior Golf Course Architect writes about his old stomping ground ….

I’ve been very patient with regard to my work at Leeds Golf Centre: I began my golf in Leeds in 1971 and as a boy played at Rawdon GC, then moved on to Woodhall Hills GC until I left Leeds in 1985 (after qualifying as a landscape architect at Leeds Metropolitan University) to work in London.

As a junior I played lots of golf on the great North Leeds courses: Headingley, Scarcroft, Alwoodley, Moortown, Sandmoor, Moor Allerton, Cobble Hall, Ilkley, to name but a few. All these courses were designed by illustrious golf course architects such as Alister MacKenzie, Harry Colt, Robert Trent Jones snr.. The newest of these, Moor Allerton – built in the 1970’s with bulldozers, following an American design style, never really reached it’s potential . It was not until the early 1990’s that the golf course at Wike Ridge was developed on open, exposed farmland, just across the road from Moor Allerton.

I was asked to submit an initial proposal to the original owner (of Wike Ridge GC) in 1991, but was beaten to the commission by one of the most respected British golf course architects, Donald Steel. To return here in 2011 to be involved in what is one of the most significant golf course redevelopment projects in the UK, is a delight and a great honour to be given the opportunity to create a classic North Leeds golf course, which, I hope will prove to be an excellent challenger to its well-known neighbours.

The Donald Steel course was built to a good standard, but to a limited budget – in this respect, it could be said that certain opportunities were not taken during its development. The greens and tees were constructed following United States Golf Association (USGA) principles and the shaping was done well – with gently undulating greens and large teeing surfaces. What I found when I returned to the course in early 2011 was a course that although busy and well-maintained, had lost its way in design terms. Fairway bunkers were now out-of-play due to the advances made in ball and club technology in the past 20 years, greenside bunkers were showing signs of heavy usage and wear (some had been filled in), the tree plantations throughout the course were so dense as to create not only maintenance problems for the greenkeepers, but also problems with lost balls and associated delays/long rounds of golf. Added to this there were safety problems on the 1st/2nd and 8th/9th/11th holes. The 2nd and 11th holes were both par-3’s that were causing bottlenecks and further delays. I mentioned that there were opportunities missed during the course development – this related mainly to the fact that streams flow through The Wike Ridge 18-hole course which never dry out, however, they barely have an impact on play, apart from on hole #6, where the golfer plays over a small pond.

Our brief was to undertake an in-depth study, looking at all aspects of the course to deal with the problem areas mentioned above and to investigate opportunities to make it one of the best golf courses in the region. This didn’t necessarily mean lengthening the course, although this was to be considered also. The strategy of the design was the main focus and we looked carefully at how to answer all the demands of the brief. Removing hole #2 completely enabled us to lengthen hole #3 (now par-5, hole #2) to be 601 yards from the backtees. By re-aligning (new) hole #2 and widening the landing area and taking out of play existing green #4, it enabled us to eradicate the internal out-of-bounds that had previously been in play between holes #3 and #4.

Hole #3 (existing hole #4) was re-aligned to play to the practice green on the members practice area (which was used very little and 400 metres from the clubhouse). We then created a new left-to-right, dog-leg par-4 hole of 409 yards, playing the length of the practice area to a new green set in amongst a new woodland block of oaks, silver birches and field maples. A new downhill par-3 hole (to replace original hole #2), would then be created by building a new tee complex on the hill above the new 4th green, playing parallel with the out-of-bounds to the existing 5th green.

The routing then reverts back to the existing course for hole #6 – an enlarged lake, hole #7 – new tees and carry area, hole #8 – retained as a par-4 with a new green to increase the safety margin on tees #9, #11 and #13, #9 – with new tees and lake and hole #10 – new bunkers. In order to improve (golfer) traffic movement on the course we renumbered holes #14, #12, #11 and #12 as #11 (par-4), #12 (par-4), #13 (par-3), #14 (par-5), which makes more sense and is a more logical progression through this part of the course. Plus, on these holes we’ve extended the water features dramatically to create lagoons, cascades, open “Scottish” burns, and swales to increase challenge and improve strategy.

Hole #15 was always considered an overly tough par-4, especially if you couldn’t get your drive past the big oak on the right-hand side of the dog-leg, so we’ve taken the tees back slightly and elevated them to extend it to 500 yards, a par-5 – which should be fairer to play, cancelling out the need for golfers to cut the corner (across new hole #14), so we can eradicate the internal out-of-bounds here too.

Hole #16 remains a tough par-3 played into the teeth of the prevailing wind. Hole #17 is extended to 551 yards from the backtees. Hole #18 will now be a real climax to the round – at present a hole considered to be a bit of a dull finish. The view from the tee will be down the sweeping fairway to a lake that will only come into play for the longest of hitters, but will have to be played over for all second shots. A truly dramatic finishing hole in full view of the clubhouse bar and restaurant.

The overall course length has increased from 6482 yards to 6506 yards.

Other exciting improvements are planned for the driving range and short Oaks course in the years to come, together with additional short game practice facilities.

Construction started on site in January 2012 and is expected to be completed by May 2012. The new facilities will be brought into play in Autumn 2012.