Ken Moodie continues to progress heathland restoration work at Pleasington

  • Pleasington
    Peter Bedford

    The latest work at Pleasington included reshaping the landing area on the par-five seventh hole. Trees have since been cleared from the bank between the two levels

  • Pleasington
    Peter Bedford

    Architect Ken Moodie created a flatter right section of the fairway to provide a better landing area for the shorter hitter

  • Pleasington
    Peter Bedford

    New bunkering on the second hole, which was remodelled in 2020

Alice Chambers
By Alice Chambers

Ken Moodie has completed another phase of work at Pleasington Golf Club in Blackburn, England, as part of a six-year project to remodel all bunkers and restore the heathland character of the landscape.

Work completed at the end of 2021 has included a transformation of the par-five seventh.

“The first 220 yards of the fairway sloped steeply from left to right and balls landing on the left edge of it would run into the rough on the right-hand side,” said Moodie. “The longer hitter was able to reach flatter ground further along the plateau, where their view to the green was blocked by the growth of trees on the intervening slope, or could attempt to run their ball down a chute which led to the lower fairway but at a high level of risk.

“We created a flatter right section for the start of the fairway, to provide a better landing area for the shorter hitter, by bringing in fill from lowering the ninth fairway, and a better view for the longer hitter by clearing trees from the bank. This bank will now be managed as heathland rough.”

Extensive remodelling work on the par-three eighth hole  has included relaying and enlarging the tees, opening up a view of an historic viaduct to the right of the green and replacing bracken on the bank beyond the green with heather and fescue turf.

“The area in front of the green used to fall away quite steeply which meant that a ball which came up a little short would often run back down the hill,” said Moodie. “In addition to remodelling the bunkers, we have created a plateau to catch a ball which does not quite reach the green.”

The ninth hole, which previously played over a ridge to a hidden fairway, has been remodelled too. “We have saddled the start of the fairway and brought it back 10-20 yards, to provide a more attractive tee shot and more manageable challenge,” said Moodie. “The tees have been rebuilt, and the white tee raised, to improve the view to the fairway. A new red tee has been built on the side of the ridge to the far side of the dip to provide a better view and a fairer tee shot for the shorter hitter. The left greenside bunker has been remodelled and a small one added on the right side of the green.”

Ongoing woodland management has also seen the removal of invasive species of trees in order to highlight the oak trees and restore the heathland character of the course.

Bunkers throughout the course are being rebuilt. A soil-stabilising product has been used to line the bunkers, using fine sand from a small quarry on the course to create a shell of protection from stones and burrowing animals.

The latest work represents the half-way mark in the project, with holes one to three, seven to nine and twelve, sixteen and eighteen all now complete.

“The project has gone extremely well and the responses have been very positive,” said Moodie. “The greenkeeping team works very hard to achieve the vision and club has the tag-line ‘good to great’ for the project. The golf course was already well respected in the area but it was in need of major renovation to reach its true potential.”