New Golf Facilities at Royal Ascot
By David Warner, Course Manager
For the last 14 months I have been overseeing the major landscape and track developments at Royal Ascot. The size and scale of the work is quite staggering, The development will see a realignment of the track, the straight mile has moved 42 metres north of its original location, and a new stand will be built.
The work involves: -
- Knocking down the old main stand and rebuilding a new main stand facility.
- Re-siting of parade rings and saddling boxes.
- Rebuilding of entrances and car parking facilities.
- Complete rebuild of the straight mile flat racing course.
- Building of underpasses.
- Complete refurbishment of the Chase course.
- Removal of existing golf course and the rebuilding of a new 18-hole parkland course.
- Re-establishing wild heathland back into the course.
We have a number of contractors working on site: -
- Raymond Brown Contractors are doing all the sub base works and civil works.
- White Horse Contractors are doing all the track rebuilds, including all new drainage works.
- Turf has been laid by Talbot Farm Landscapes (employed by White Horse) and supplied by In Turf.
- M J Abbot is installing all the new irrigation systems.
- M J Ely and Sons have constructed the golf course.
- Lakes and Greens irrigation
Royal Ascot Golf Course
Royal Ascot Golf course has been in existence for well over 120 years and was given Royal status by Queen Victoria in 1887. It is one of the oldest golf courses in the UK.
The development has paved the way for a brand new 18-hole golf facility to be built on adjacent land outside the racing circuits, providing the opportunity for us to separate the golf from horse racing. A new £1,000,000 clubhouse has been built and is now in use by the existing 650 club members.
Once the new course is opened in August 2005 the old one will be closed down and returned to a heathland habitat. The area will be over sown with heathland grasses and maintained on an annual basis. We are looking to increase the density and quality of the heather, broom and gorse within the site.
The new course has been designed by Jonathan Tucker from the STRI, a 6500-yard par 70 course covering 150 acres. J & E Ely Ltd are the contractors and started work in February 2004. All the greens have been constructed to full USGA specifications, averaging 500 square metres in size, with some interesting contours and tiers. The large tee constructions will be able to accommodate play all year round.
Alistair Holehouse was appointed Head Greenkeeper last August and has been able to oversee the growing in of the course. The entire course has been seeded, and Alistair has seen it grow from initial seeding right through to where it is now. Being a predominantly parkland course, with bents and fescues, the fairways are likely to be more resilient to drought conditions. We have used natural indigenous grasses from the local area across the whole course, with the exception of the tees, where rye grasses have been used.
(Picture L-R Dave Warner, Alistair Holehouse New Head Greenkeeper).
Alistair's priorities now are to identify any areas that require remedial works, ensuring that any necessary over seeding, aerating and top dressing is undertaken to establish and promote a good sward. This work will be complemented with appropriate fertiliser applications.
Ely's are currently shaping and filling the 56 bunkers and completing some pathway constructions.
We are currently advertising for staff and selecting some additional machinery. Alistair is keen to get the staff on board quickly so that they become familiar with the course and the maintenance regime prior to opening August 2005, this will enable Alistair and his new team to provide excellent facilities for The Royal Ascot Golf Club.
See the following link for article on Major changes at Ascot