Golf Course Architecture - Issue 65, July 2021

32 Woking Golf Club in England has completed the first phase of a project to make its course more enjoyable for shorter hitters. Its course previously required golfers to carry tee shots of up to 120 yards of heather. So, after consultation with members, the club approved plans for a two-phase 18-tee programme to address playability while also ensuring a lasting environmental impact, so that the heathland habitats are not mown or left to degenerate into woodland. The first phase has covered ten tees, seven of which are entirely new, and has limited carries over heather to a more manageable 60 to 70 yards. Pace of play has increased, and golfers are reporting a more enjoyable round. Golf course architect Tim Lobb, who has been advising Woking for over six years, said: “When players can’t get the ball over heather, it can be replaced with mown grass, but you lose very valuable habitat in doing that. Woking is one of the world’s oldest heathland courses, founded in 1893. Respecting, restoring and maintaining the ecological diversity of historically significant heathland is so important. My aim was to preserve, enhance and position the heath in front of the tees. We ensured that the tees are closer to fairways, blending in perfectly, hidden within the landscape so golfers enjoy an uninterrupted course view from the other teeing locations.” Course manager Andy Ewence said: “Planning was the key to our success. It took us all a long time thinking it through, listening to our golfers, to other clubs, debating the details and Woking completes first phase of forward tees project TEE BOX