The north Cornish coast is a tough place to get into the golf business.
With courses of the quality of St Enodoc and Trevose within a few miles, competition for both members and visitors is fierce. But the new owners of the Point at Polzeath, located very near to the holiday hotspot of Rock, have big ambitions for their course – and the rest of the golf and leisure resort.
Formerly Roserrow Golf and Country Club, the course is part of a much larger leisure complex including a health club, 20 metre indoor swimming pool and tennis courts. Roserrow collapsed under the strain of recession, but has now been bought and reinvented by investors Jeremy and Eva Davies, with support from Robert Clive of consultancy 360 Golf.
The Point’s new owners have commissioned golf architect Tim Lobb – principal of the London-based firm Thomson Perrett & Lobb, which was founded by five times Open champion Peter Thomson – to advise on upgrades to the course. While the full programme of works will take three years to implement, Lobb, along with head greenkeeper Tom Collings and his team, are already hard at work.
Eleven holes have already seen improvement works. Lobb’s changes include new tees, especially forward tees, on a number of holes to improve playability, adding and removing bunkers to improve hole strategy and the clearing of trees in areas where they interfere with play. Trees are being replanted in areas where they will not impact on the holes. The course’s maintenance team has been expanded with the addition of three new greenkeepers, and the machinery fleet has been entirely renewed. A new driving range, with covered bays, is under construction right next to the first hole, and will offer both synthetic and natural grass tees.
Perhaps the most dramatic changes are on the par four fourteenth. Previously choked by tree growth, the attractive stream has been uncovered, improving visibility from the tee and challenging golfers to place their tee shots close to the hazard for the easiest approach to the green. More tree clearance and the addition of some new bunkers will transform the course’s eighteenth hole into a stunning closer where only clear thinking and reliable execution will deliver a par score.
Further work is planned. Located on the course’s most dramatic land, the par five sixth hole will be opened up and rebunkered, producing a tumbling hole incorporating a historic Cornish hedge wall among its hazards.
“We are investing heavily to upgrade all the club’s facilities,” said Jeremy Davies. “The Point has always had great potential – it is a perfect location, close to Rock and Polzeath. But the fact that there is so much else to do here makes it a very competitive market! So we will keep investing in our facilities and our service. We believe we have a fabulous offering for a family holiday or a weekend away and that we are moving in the right direction – the success of the 2013 season gives us great confidence that we are on the right track – but we will get better still.”
The Point’s most impressive development is just about to start. The resort already offers residential packages in its existing accommodation, but now the owners have committed to a substantial new block. Building work has begun on a new complex of seven apartments – which will be available for holiday and short break rentals – sited just two minutes walk from the clubhouse, and with fabulous views of Pentire Point and Hayle Bay. The apartments will open in the spring of 2015.