As GCA reported in its January edition, Chart Hills Golf Club in Kent, England, will reopen this summer, after a major year-long renovation.
The course, which was bought in 2019 by Ramac Holdings, owners of Prince’s GC in nearby Sandwich, will reopen on 1 June, after being closed since last year, in which time all fairways have been sandcapped to solve the course’s long-standing drainage problems.
The course originally opened in 1994 and was designed by American architect Steve Smyers, along with Sir Nick Faldo, the six-time Major champion’s first signature design.
“We have made enormous strides and are hugely proud of the product we will be presenting,” said director of golf Anthony Tarchetti. “While the work has been significant, we absolutely will not rest on our laurels. This is just the beginning of a road of continuous improvement at Chart Hills, with plans already in place to continue developments over the coming years. We are extremely excited to welcome our members and their guests back to the club in the coming months.”
Initial planning indicated that a complete redevelopment project would take more than two years to finish, with the hope of a late summer opening in 2022. However, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and forced closures due to government restrictions, presented an opportunity to dramatically accelerate the timeframe.
The decision was made to close the golf course in July 2020. Every fairway was completely stripped, exposing the bare soil. The maintenance team then laid thousands of metres of irrigation piping down before more than 30,000 tonnes of sand was shaped onto the holes to produce a four-inch capping. The finishing team spread creeping ryegrass seed on each fairway area before the watering and fertilisation processes began.
Off the course, the entire venue has been remodelled, with a completely redecorated clubhouse, all-new club shop, modernised bar area, improved car park and signage, and upgraded practice facilities that include a state-of-the-art simulator room.
Despite a challenging winter, the club has been able to make great strides in continuing the renovation of the clubhouse area and green complexes, while applying the finishing touches to the new fairways. There has also been a complete bunker overhaul.