Swan Golf Designs is preparing for its sixth phase of a ten-year renovation project at Barton-on-Sea Golf Club on the south coast of England.
The club, located on a clifftop overlooking the Isle of Wight, has 27 holes – a combination of 18 designed by Harry Colt in 1932 and nine completed by J. Hamilton Stutt in 1992.
“The project up began, as most of our renovations do, with our compiling an overall audit and appraisal of the golf course in the form of a comprehensive report which gave the club an opportunity to see how in the long term – through a 10-year plan – the course could be renovated to improve its quality and to bring it up to the requirements of the advancing technology of the game and the expectations of the modern golfer,” said Howard Swan.
The first phase of work, which began in 2013, was focused on the threat of coastal erosion by modifying five holes of the Stroller course, relocating them to combat the reduction in the land available for the holes adjacent to the ocean.
“One of our first challenges was to defend the clifftop holes from the ocean and ingression of the sea into the land of the golf course,” said Swan. “It was a matter of significant concern to the club and the situation was exacerbated because lying between the eroding clifftops and the golf course was the south-west coastal path – a very well used walking route and with public access becoming closer to the axis of play those walking were in considerable danger. There was simply not enough distance in between the playing areas and the footpath and safety concerns were unacceptably high and increasing year after year as the sea became closer.
“Occurrences of this nature are not few and far between. For example, the work which we’ve done at Sheringham and Nefyn has been necessitated by the pace of erosion on the coastlines and the retreating landform or elsewhere the adjacency of major public rights of way are creating safety issues. Regrettably, such potential hazards are ignored or taken for granted by clubs until the time when something does happen and by then it is too late to take any measures other than reactive ones.”
Swan Golf Designs has completed work on each of the nines at Barton-on-Sea – Becton, Needles and Stroller – including the restoration of one of Colt’s original holes, the par-three eighth on the Becton nine.
“We shall return in September to continue with the next phase, which will most likely be another five holes on the Stroller nine,” said Swan. “This includes rebunkering, remodelling of greens surrounds, some new tees and some changes in the layout.”
Swan expects the ten-year plan for Barton-on-Sea to be completed in 2022.