Across the UK, clubs and courses are reinventing the rules to spark consumer interest and get more people engaging with the game. With the well-publicised ageing population and ongoing economic pressure, new approaches have never been more welcome.
A key trend is speed. Whilst seemingly at odds with the traditional golf experience, it’s a fact that the demands of modern life rarely allow for 18 holes twice-weekly. Faster rounds are needed to attract and retain players. Finding ways to make a round of golf last an hour, instead of four, is the aim.
The historic Houghton-le-Spring Golf Club in County Durham embraced this. Working with Huxley Golf, it created a five-green, all-weather short course – the first of its kind in the UK. This summer, Oxfordshire’s Frilford Heath Golf Club became another excellent example, unveiling its new Yellow Course to sit alongside its three existing championship courses.
Here, the new light, bright course meanders its way through avenues of trees with bird boxes to encourage wildlife and natural grass fairways and approaches. Divided into two loops of three holes each, with the second slightly more challenging than the first, the Yellow Course caters for all standards of golfer. Its six greens all measure 150 square yards, but each has a unique shape and undulations. There are 12 Huxley Golf Premier Nylon Tee Mats, two for each hole, creating a variety of approach shots from differing angles and length with increasing difficulty.
Paul Huxley, managing director of Huxley Golf, commented: “Working with the natural landscape, we turned an under-utilised area of woodland into a stunning high quality all-weather facility. Frilford Heath’s new course will appeal to beginners who want an accessible and gentle introduction to the sport, experienced players who want to improve their short game within 100 yards, and the rapidly expanding group of golfers that find it hard to find time to play regularly. Importantly too, it’s fast and easy to maintain for time-strapped grounds staff.”
Vanessa Gardner is a journalist who has written this article on behalf of Huxley Golf. For more information, visit www.huxleygolf.com