Course Development Plan
The purpose of the course development plan is threefold:
1. To provide a record of the current layout of Peebles Golf Course and insight into previous changes.
2. To summarise the Club’s aspirations and investment intentions in respect of the Course layout, condition and greenkeeping equipment.
3. To support detailed prioritsation and planning of course maintenance and upgrade activity.
This document should be reviewed and updated on a regular basis (at least annually) to reflect the changes that have occurred and to ensure that priortities are in line with changing expectations. Going forward, the club will improve communication on course development activity and will notify members of upcoming works prior to commencement.
Course Development Update: January 2016
As part of our commitment to keeping members informed of the continued improvements at the club, this latest news is aimed at providing an update on the work and planning in the area of course development, some of which was presented at last month’s members evening.
Over recent months, we have formed a course development team, comprising Greens Convener, Senior Greenkeeper, Club Professional and Vice-Captain. Given the golf course is our number one asset and priority, the team’s remit and objectives were set out as follows:
To produce a course plan, in line with our business plan, to be used as a working document by the club, managed by the Senior Greenkeeper and Greens Convener in developing the course in future years.
To provide a golf course which caters for golfers of all abilities, from scratch golfers to ‘average’ handicap golfers; to juniors and beginners – to make golf a fun challenge for all!
To incorporate the Harry Colt design features – the renowned designer who laid out the course – and bring his principles back into the course, embracing the legacy he has created.
To ensure continued good maintenance and improvement in order to attract future visitors, in line with the trends being experienced across golf.
The Course Development Plan does not mean that the course is to have a major re-design of the existing layout, most holes are viewed as being attractive and fair for the length and type of course we have. It should also be noted that the White Tee course would remain the club’s routine medal course. Feedback on the course over recent years has been hugely positive, but we are conscious that we need to continually improve its condition and sustainability.
One key area the Course Development Team has considered falls in line with a number of clubs across the UK embracing modern thinking, in the removing of ‘gender specific tees’ and moving towards ‘ability tees’. Many members who have played visitor golf recently will have been given the option of which tees to play off, based on their ability or distance they can hit the ball, giving you the choice to play from championship tees or forward tees. We are keen to follow this trend. For example, some ladies may wish to play off white or yellow tees in bounce games, while some of our developing juniors may be best suited playing off red tees instead of the blues.
We currently have four options of tees:
White – 6,160 yards (for medal play)
Yellow – 5,729 yards (for general play – men and boys)
Red – 5,195 yards (for ladies medal and general play)
Blue – 3,831 yards (for beginner juniors)
The plan for the course is to provide a course with six different yardage options, adding a ‘Black Tee course’ with the addition of some new tees extending the course to approximately 6,400 yards, and a shorter hybrid course mixing red and yellow tees, which may be more suitable for some of our older golfers, ladies seeking a slightly longer challenge or developing youngsters who are moving up from the blues, but not ready for the yellows or whites.
We are also proposing revising the colour scheme of the tees in line with the changes. Red for example may have a stigma for certain men or juniors not wanting to play off the ‘ladies’ tees and we are looking at examples of colours used by other clubs.
Our aim is to give our members and visitors more choice. We want our seniors’ golfers who are losing a few yards to continue enjoying their golf on a length of the course they feel comfortable on. We want our juniors to be able to develop their games in line with their age and ability. We want to attract visitors and competitive golfers looking for more of a challenge. We want to ensure that our course keeps pace with the changes in technology. Ultimately, the customer will have the choice. A recent article in the respected Golf Club Management magazine provides a bit more background to those clubs who have already made the change:
Timescale on the initial proposed changes are for completion by the summer of 2017, the Club’s 125th Anniversary year. The ‘Black Course’ will be introduced for occasional events during that season, while the Club will also be hosting the Scottish Youths Championship as part of our celebrations, with the extended course being used for that event, with some of the UK’s leading Under-21 golfers competing. Thereafter, it will be up to the members to decide when the ‘Black Course’ is brought into competition play, for events such as the Club Championship.
We believe having the option of an extended course can help us attract more visitors and support the development of our more talented players. The Club has worked hard on improving its profile in recent years, with our success in winning the Scottish Junior Club of the Year title in 2015, our marketing activity and showcasing the achievements of both Craig and Darren Howie, our Scotland internationalists.
Our Course Designer – Harry Colt
A further aim of the team is to maximise the heritage of our course architect, Harry Colt. For those not familiar with the name (our 7th hole “Colt’s Choice” is named after him), Harry S Colt is widely regarded as one of the best course designers in the world, having designed and redesigned some very famous courses. Notable examples are Pine Valley (USA), Royal County Down (Ireland), Muirfield, Royal Portrush (Ireland), Royal Lytham and St Annes, Sunningdale, Royal Liverpool, Wentworth, Woodhall Spa, Ganton, Royal Porthcawl, Le Touquet (France) and The Eden, St Andrews.
Esteemed company indeed! We are in fact one of only five towns in Scotland that boasts a Colt course. However, somewhat surprisingly we have never used our status too much and when you think of examples such as the James Braid trail, we believe it is a proud status symbol to embrace within our marketing activity. This can enhance our brand profile, complementing our beautiful scenery, the growth of Tweed Valley tourism and our family friendly club.
We will be reviewing how we market the club to the general golfing public, with the aim of improving our brand and being noted as a club that has a Harry S Colt designed course; as well as a friendly and welcoming family orientated clubhouse, extremely beautiful outlook onto the Tweed Valley and a variety of courses that are both challenging and fun to play.
Summary of Planned Course Changes
Initial work during our 2015/16 winter programme is the building of new black tees at the 3rd and 9th holes and the re-introduction of the old 18th back tee. We have a challenge with the 9th hole being rated on the stroke index (no 6) as one of the hardest holes on the course, yet the year on year stats tell us it plays as one of the easiest holes.
Hole No 9
Work on the 9th hole will include the addition of a pot bunker in front of the green between the existing left-hand greenside bunker and bunker at the right of the fairway. The existing bunker to the right of the fairway at 150 yds from the green is to be moved into the fairway from the rough and constructed as a pot bunker, with the old bunker being filled in and turfed over. Eventually it is planned to make all three of the fairway bunkers into pot bunkers in the design style of Colt. Finally the fairway is to be split into two distinct fairways by the introduction of a band of semi-rough running across the existing fairway on the down slope at the back of the existing first two bunkers from the tee. This will create a hole that should be plotted from tee to green and is not an easy hit down the hill, which it has become.
Hazards are being introduced to encourage course management from the tee and to introduce a challenge on the second shot - be it a long shot to the green or a positional lay-up for a pitch to the green. Options will be available to all golfers, of all abilities at the hole to make par but birdie and eagle will become much harder to achieve and we believe more befitting the index 6 hole on the course. We tend to forget that the vast majority of players at the club (6 handicap and above) should ‘in theory’ be scoring a bogey (or double bogey in the case of 24 + handicap players) at this hole to be playing to their handicap.
Hole No 4
Plans for the 4th hole include having a similar split in its fairway requiring the player to make a decision off the tee to either hit long to the flat plateau past the rough or lay up and hit a longer club into the green. Semi-rough will be grown across the existing fairway on the up slope at approximately 100 yds from the green.
Winter 2016/17 Programme
Hole No 3
Other work will include the construction of a fairway bunker on the left of the 3rd hole (see below) and a pot bunker at the front left hand side of the 18th green.
Hole No 18
The remaining work will be completed during winter 2016/17. This includes the introduction of ‘black tees’ at the 5th, 6th, 13th and 15th holes.
As the course plan is completed, drawings of all the holes will be published to the members via the website and on clubhouse noticeboards. We would appreciate your ongoing patience with this matter (please remember, the committee members are volunteers and this work is being done ‘after hours’ of their day jobs!) and every effort will be made to publish information to the members in a timely manner going forward.
The committee welcomes the opportunity to discuss any feedback on these changes and as ever, any offer of assistance to support the running of the club through standing for main committee, helping on a sub-committee or simply giving up some time for a specific project, is very welcome!
Yours in Golf
Developing the Practice Facilities
The practice ground expansion and development work is now complete, with the superb new all-weather Huxley synthetic grass area now laid and surrounding landscape work bedding in. A new short game area has also been built, with a green and two practice bunkers added, while a new kids putting green has been put in, above the current practice putting green adjacent towards the 10th tee.
Preparing for the new synthetic grass practice area with the new short game area.
Arial view of the the new practice ground expansion and development, featuring lengthening, widening, new synthetic grass area, short game area and bunkers .