Golf Course Architecture - Issue 62: October 2020

77 area close to the first tee but this is not always an option, especially when working with historic courses that simply weren’t designed for practice zones. However, with some creative thinking and practical experience, we can get around such issues. A good example of this is Houghton- le-Spring Golf Club in northern England. Following a successful funding application to Sport England, the club set about creating a five- green short course using Huxley Golf premier all-weather surfaces. Each green is unique, yet together reflect the characteristics of the natural terrain. Our challenge in designing the area was to both counteract and utilise the natural slopes. Moving over 500 tonnes of soil, substrate and hardcore – and working with a 1:6 gradient – this installation was quite a challenge, but one that we all relished because we knew we were creating something quite brilliant. Frilford Heath Golf Club in Oxfordshire worked with artificial surfaces too, with the specific aim of enhancing its membership proposition. There, an underutilised area of woodland was turned into a new par- three course. The Yellow course perfectly complements the club’s three existing championship courses and was designed at the outset to cater for all standards of golfer. All six greens measure 1,350 square feet but all are unique in shape and undulations. There are 12 Huxley Golf Premier Nylon Tee Mats, two for each hole, creating a variety of approach shots from differing angles and length with increasing difficulty. Many natural grass advocates dislike the idea of converting to artificial surfaces, perhaps because some tried early-to-market or sub-standard products and, quite understandably, were put off. However, I’m extremely proud to say that our range is vastly different. As golfers ourselves, we understand the importance of being able to practice regularly, even when time is short. This is why we have developed unique surfaces that receive the ball just like natural grass. It’s an incredibly realistic experience – but without pitch marks and drainage issues. Once people have visited our demonstration area in Hampshire and tried Huxley Golf surfaces themselves, they understand the quality and the potential benefits that they offer both individual golfers and the clubs and courses they frequent. GCA Paul Chester is director of Huxley Golf Photo: Huxley Golf Frilford Heath turned an underutilised area of woodland into a six hole par-three course with artificial greens and tees from Huxley Golf