0 Calverley Golf Course

Calverley Golf Course

Head Greenkeeper, Clive Walton, is taking part in a major six-year programme to redevelop Calverley Golf Club, a mixture of parkland and moorland course midway between Leeds and Bradford. The plan is to create a 27-hole course out of two courses, one 9 and one 18 hole, on opposite sides of a main road.

The redevelopment scheme started in 1997 when the national firm, PlayGolf, took over the course. Work on re-constructing the nine-hole course began in November 2001. When completed, work will start on the first nine holes of the 18 hole course, followed by the other nine. The whole scheme is scheduled to be completed in 2007.

Clive said, "The scheme is taking seven years, and includes the refurbishment of the clubhouse. Play Golf's aim is to offer cheap golf, enabling more people to pay and play. We are developing three lots of nine holes of reasonably equal standard. It is an exciting development. The way the 27-hole course will be organised is that visitors will go out in one direction and members the other way, which will enable us to cater for both categories of golfers."

It took PlayGolf nearly three years to get planning permission for the redevelopment but, once approved, they got to work very quickly. "First, we stripped off the top soil on the fairways and put in the infill," said Clive. "The fairways and semi rough were then landscaped from a design by the contractors.

The greens were designed by Peter McEvoy and built by Clive and his greenkeeping staff to USPGA standards. " We did the drainage on the greens ourselves," said Clive. "They were shaped out, the drainage put in, followed by a four inch stone carpet and a mixture of sand and peat - 80 per cent sand and 20 per cent peat. They were seeded with Penn A4 greens mixture."

For the excavating an drainage work Clive and his team used a JCB 360, a JCB 130 and a JCB mini digger. In addition they had use of an Iseki compact tractor with levelling gear, and the rest of the work has been done manually. There were one or two problems in design and some of the drawings had to be altered slightly. Other than that everything has gone fairly smoothly.

"We have been slitting, top dressing and over seeding," continued Clive. " We have had good assistance from Webfall, who are involved with local councils all over the country. Their expertise makes a big difference. As soon as the nine hole course has re-opened we hope to close nine of the existing 18 hole course for re-ordering, and then we will do the same with the remaining nine holes."

Once completed, Calverley is going to be established as a members and visitors course. Play Golf's aim is to offer a course that is well maintained, enjoyable and reasonably priced.

Clive and his staff have had to cope with a lot of fusarium this year. He said: "It has been rampant in the Leeds area. We have been spraying it. You can kill the disease but you are left with scars."

Part of the scheme is to plant about 1,500 trees and shrubs - some 500 have already been planted - poplar, ash, oak, silver birch and cherry are among the species being used.

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Contact Kerry Haywood

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