British architect Howard Swan says his series of roadshows on course renovation, which concluded at Donaghadee golf club in Northern Ireland recently, was a great success.
Representatives of seventeen clubs came to Donaghadee to hear Swan speak about renovating courses in the present financial climate when there is much evidence of course development budgets being cut back or even abandoned.
He stressed the need for clubs to look at their courses as their most valuable asset and to consider sensible investments in moving the design and structure of courses ahead, as technology advances and natural wear and tear take effect.
Using Donaghadee as the case study, he explained the work on the course to date, executed with contractors and the greenkeeping staff, predominantly on bunkering. Some nine holes have now been renovated over a three year period.
Swan showed the development project for the practice facilities at Donaghadee – an academy and a six hole children’s golf course doubling as a range – being funded by Sport Northern Ireland and in collaboration with local schools.
He added: “A better course at Donaghadee has helped to increase the membership by over 150 and has facilitated a doubling of junior players. I hope more in Northern Ireland follow the example.”
Swan already has eight clubs in Ulster in its portfolio, including Clandeboye, Massereene, County Armagh, Helen’s Bay and Holywood, the home of Rory McIlroy.