Golf Course Architecture - Issue 61, July 2020

C anadian golf course architect Tom McBroom is renovating the course at Caversham Heath Golf Club, which was originally designed by David Williams and opened in 2000, in preparation for its merger with nearby Reading Golf Club. Reading GC’s 96-acre site, currently home to a James Braid course, has been sold to Fairfax Properties, which is managing the plans for a housing development on a parcel of the land. McBroom’s revised layout for Caversham Heath will be named after the club’s founder Jack Eyston. “Caversham Heath is a good course, but it wasn’t outstanding,” said McBroom. “It had huge walks between greens and tees, and only one par three on the front nine [the eighth]. My plan sees a substantial reduction in the length of walks from green to tee, reducing playing time by as much as 15 to 20 minutes. “The course will also be a bit of an ‘inland links’ with fescue grass and gorse… there’s no heather anywhere.” Ely Golf began construction in June 2019 with the rerouting of the first hole and the building of a new green and bunkers. “The first is effectively a brand-new hole, with tee boxes repositioned near to the clubhouse, and bending the hole uphill to the right rather than the left,” said McBroom. “A new green is situated on the highest point of the property which affords a spectacular view of the Reading skyline.” The second is also new, a par three playing to the existing first green, which has been rebunkered on both sides. “Another major routing change was the elimination of the thirteenth, which was an awkward uphill par three,” said McBroom. “We reversed the direction of the hole and created a new driveable par four. The two driveable par fours [the fourth and thirteenth] create some much-needed variety to the overall hole mix.” Other work includes converting the par-four sixteenth into a par three and substantially changing the eighteenth hole – including relocating the green to a hillside below the clubhouse. McBroom has been unable to be on site since mid-February because of the restrictions on air travel and UK quarantine. Gary Stangoe, 16 TEE BOX McBroomredesigns CavershamHeath ahead of merger NEWS EDI TOR : R I CHARD HUMPHREYS The new Eyston course will be completed ahead of the club’s merger with nearby Reading GC Photo: Louis Palser – EcoBunker Ltd