Golf course architect Ken Moodie of Creative Golf Design (CGD) is returning to Lindrick Golf Club in Worksop, England, this autumn for the final phase of a five-year bunker renovation project.
Moodie – who was appointed following renovation work at the nearby Sherwood Forest and Notts clubs – joins a long list of golf course architects that have advised Lindrick, including Tom Dunn, Alister MacKenzie, Herbert Fowler, Tom Simpson, Fred Hawtree and Donald Steel.
This year’s work will focus on the eighth, ninth and thirteenth holes, where existing bunkers will be reshaped and in some cases extended, and a new run-off area will be introduced to the right of the ninth green in place of a hidden bunker.
Moodie prepared a report with recommendations for improvements following a winter 2011 appraisal of the course. “The emphasis was on improving both the style and positioning of the bunkers, but we were also asked to look at how some new tees could be introduced to raise the challenge for the elite golfer,” said Moodie. “We also advised on how the landscape character of this traditional heathland-style course could be improved where it had been compromised – there is no heather on the course since it is on alkaline soils, but the gorse and long grasses in the rough gives it a heathland character.”
CGD consultant Ken Brown, a former European Tour golfer who is also well known for his on-course TV commentary, contributed to the report, as did as did John Nicholson Associates, who advised on how trees and gorse could be better managed.
“Something else we were asked to look at in the early stages was whether it was possible to alter the layout to have just one road crossing point rather than the two they had,” said Moodie. “They were concerned about the dangers of the road crossing between the eleventh and twelfth and wanted to use an underpass that had been built between the seventeenth and eighteenth. Although we put forward a couple of solutions, the club decided that they preferred to keep the course layout close to the one which had hosted the Ryder Cup, in 1957, and invest in another tunnel which has been in place for around three years.”
Construction started on the course improvement project in autumn 2015 and has continued each year since.
“The new and remodelled bunkers are much more visible, with their high sand faces and varied sand lines providing much better visual framing for the holes and allowing golfers to see the hazards when playing in range of them so they can try to plot the best course to the flag,” said Moodie. “The playing strategy of many of the holes has also been much improved and made more challenging for today’s golfer.
“We are creating some nice run-off areas on a couple of holes, in place of hidden bunkers, such as to the back-right of the first green and as planned to the right of the ninth green, to add a better variety of challenge and make the course fairer to play.
“The opening three holes and the closing three probably exhibit the most dramatic changes,” continued Moodie. “The patch of gorse that previously created the slight right-to-left dogleg on the first hole was very penal – the new drive bunker is a much fairer hazard.” A new bunker was added to the right of the fairway, on the second hole and the ground lowered in front of the greenside bunkers and sand faces raised to add drama to this angled shelved green. The third has similarly been improved and the former, symmetrical bunker layout, which completely surrounded the green, altered to make the left side of the putting surface a little more accessible.
“The eighteenth was visually disappointing, although the hole was already a very good, challenging par three to finish the round,” said Moodie. “By cutting back trees and reshaping, extending and slightly repositioning the bunkers the golfer is much more aware of the challenge he is faced with on the tee.”
Contractor Fine Turf/Lakeland has carried out shaping work, with Adrian Butt operating a 14-tonne excavator with a tilting bucket. A JCB with a rock-pecker attachment has been used to break out areas of limestone rock.
The greenkeeping staff have carried out finishing and turfing work, with turf supplied by Tillers Turf.
Neil Horton, course manager, said: “I myself have being absolutely delighted at what we have achieved at Lindrick working alongside Ken and Lakeland – the contractor that successfully managed to complete all the works so far on time.”