Royal Norwich Golf Club has officially opened its new golf course, with professional golfer Ian Poulter hitting the ceremonial tee shot.
The course was designed by Ross McMurray of European Golf Design on a wooded site previously occupied by Weston Park Golf Club, 10 miles from the centre of Norwich, England. The club’s previous site in Hellesdon, close to the city, is being redeveloped for housing.
While some previous hole corridors have been used, the routing has been completely overhauled and now extends into open land to the north of the previous course. That has made room for a six-hole academy layout, short game area and putting green, all of which are close to the new clubhouse, a former stables block.
“The site is the star,” said McMurray. “It’s not often you get to work with a site of this quality, so we didn’t want to create a course that yells ‘here’s me’ and imposes itself on the landscape. We designed a course that golfers would want to come back and play the next day and would be fun for everyone, whatever their standard.”
McMurray explained that the secret to the new routing was the short par-three second hole. “As we were walking the site, I spotted an area that we were able to clear out to create space for the hole and effectively complete the routing.”
A tree preservation order for the site meant that careful consideration was given to identify green locations with ample sunlight and air movement. Some non-native species were removed, as well as trees that were declared unsafe, or were dead or dying.
Phil Grice, general manager at Royal Norwich, describes the course as “the longest in Norfolk, and also the shortest.” The overall yardage can play from 5,339 to 7,209 yards, with five tee boxes on each hole.
Construction was completed by MJ Abbott, who worked alongside European Golf Design and Peter Todd, estates manager at Royal Norwich. A new state-of-the-art Rain Bird 1100 IC system has been installed, giving the club precise management over the application of water on the course. Soil amendments from Profile Products have helped to ensure the highest possible turf quality.
The club is offering a range of membership packages to appeal to all types of golfer, and Grice says that membership numbers have already risen from 400 to over 1,000.
A full report on the new Royal Norwich will appear in the October issue of Golf Course Architecture. Visit our subscribe page to sign up for a free digital subscription.