British-based construction machinery giant JCB has broken ground on the project to build a new golf course at its Staffordshire base.
Designed by architect Robin Hiseman of European Golf Design, the 7,150 yard course will occupy a 240 acre site just to the south of JCB’s world headquarters in Rocester. When completed in 2018, the company expects to create up to 100 jobs in groundscare and hospitality.
Earlier this week, JCB chairman Lord Anthony Bamford marked the start of work on the project as a 36 tonne JCB JS360 tracked excavator officially cut the first sod of earth on the site. A total of ten JCB machines will shift half a million tonnes of earth between now and next June when the first stage of the project, which involves profiling and contouring of the site, will be completed.
Sand-heavy soil amelioration is a key part of this process: architect Hiseman said that around 36km of drainage pipe, along with ground shaping to include swales, ditches and catch basins, will be included in the construction, to ensure the course, which will sit on heavy soil, will play fast and firm. When finished, the golf course will be the biggest marketing tool available to digger maker JCB in its 69-year history.
Bamford said: “My vision for this golf course is for it to build an even stronger awareness of the JCB brand around the world and help drive increased demand for our products. It’s wonderful to see the plans start to come to life and I look forward to its completion in 2018.”
At the heart of the development is Woodseat Hall, an 18th century mansion currently in ruins, but which will have a new lease of life under plans to renovate it as the course clubhouse, complete with spa and leisure facilities and five-star hotel-style accommodation for JCB guests from across the world.
The new golf course will be made available mainly to JCB’s network of 770 global dealers. It will be used to drive business growth, helping to build relationships with new customers and strengthen relationships with existing customers. Upon completion, golf days will become a feature of the wider JCB visitor experience, which already includes factory visits, the ‘Story of JCB’ exhibition and machine demonstrations. The company also hopes to attract the European Tour to its course.