Grant enables NI range project


Sean Dudley

Donaghadee Golf Club in Northern Ireland is undertaking a major redevelopment of its practice facility with the aim of becoming one of the province’s leading centres of excellence for junior golf.

The course, founded in 1899, is undergoing a multi-year renovation at the hands of Swan Golf Designs. Five holes have already been upgraded, while a grant of more than £100,000 from Sport Northern Ireland has made the practice range project possible.

Swan has redesigned the area to include a six hole golf course on the outfield of the practice ground, which will double up as a range. Adjacent to this will be a golf academy, for chipping and bunker practice and tuition. This will include three holes, enabling a nine or eighteen hole short course round for beginners and juniors.

General manager Jim Cullen said: “We have long needed to improve our practice facilities and the help we are receiving from Sport Northern Ireland is a wonderful boost to our efforts to bring in the young and add to our junior membership.  We have around 100 juniors and we aim to double that. We already work with local schools using TriGolf and GolfXtreme equipment and the innovative design we have from our golf course architects has allowed us to take great advantage of the limited area which we have available.”

Howard Swan added: “It is tremendous to see a members’ club having such vision in wishing to attract more juniors to its ranks and being able to do so by improving its facilities on the course so markedly. It is even more pleasing to see that the public purse will back the project in such a substantial way, underlining and emphasising a recognition that, particularly after the Olympic decision, the game is being expanded at its grass roots, encouraging access to it, and demonstrating real sustainability.”

Work is beginning around now, and should be completed by spring 2010.