Updated 31 January 2014: GCA editor Adam Lawrence paid a visit to the JCB site to see the plans for the course. Read his report.
British-based construction equipement manufacturer has announced plans for a £30 million golf course adjacent to its world headquarters in Staffordshire, England.
The 7,150 yard course will be located on 240 acres of rolling countryside to the south of JCB’s Rocester headquarters.The plans have been conceived by JCB Chairman Lord Anthony Bamford and follow an announcement in early December that the group is investing £150 million to build two new factories in Staffordshire and significantly increase production to meet an anticipated growth in demand for its products.
At the heart of this premier golf development is Woodseat Hall, an eighteenth 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 a new luxury spa, leisure facility and five-star hotel-style accommodation for visiting JCB guests from across the world.
Lord Bamford said: “JCB is a global manufacturer with a successful track record in growing sales in overseas markets. As part of our plans to increase manufacturing capacity and grow sales, we need to build an even stronger awareness of the JCB brand around the world.
“Golf is a truly global sport and is a perfect fit for JCB as a global manufacturer as we look to develop strong relationships with customers and dealers worldwide. I’m not a golfer myself but I’m excited by the opportunity it presents us in driving our future plans for business growth.”
Robin Hiseman of European Golf Design is the architect for the course. He said: “The course design, which is burgeoning with imaginative design concepts, will twist and turn around the natural contours of the site, dipping in and out of the woodlands and involving the existing water features in a range of exciting ways, including the spectacular and unique par three seventeenth hole, which plays onto an existing wooded island in the South Lake.”
Graeme Macdonald, JCB’s chief executive, said: “The golf course will be the biggest marketing tool available to JCB in its history, helping grow sales and create jobs. If the course were to host a major tournament, the television coverage would certainly put the JCB brand firmly on the world stage. It would also help to raise the profile of Staffordshire and promote the county as a tourist destination to millions of people around the world.”
Hiseman added: “We are looking forward to building this JCB course, and as you might expect, JCB machines will be doing all of the work in what will be a 240-acre shop window for its product range.”
The new course, which has not yet obtained planning consent, 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.