Cheshire Union of Golf Clubs

Delamere Forest reaps the reward of course redevelopment

A five-year programme of course redevelopment has proved to be a great success at Delamere Forest Golf Club and the club is now looking forward to hosting some top amateur and professional competitions in the coming years including top Cheshire tournaments.
The Greens Committee and the Delamere Board have been the main movers in the redevelopment and are justifiably proud of what has been a real team effort by members, green staff and top experts in golf course development.
The original aim was to make the course longer but this was changed to being ‘longer and stronger’ and what was once called a ‘Hidden Gem’ is now known as ‘Fowler’s Cheshire Masterpiece’.
While they changed seven tee positions to increase the length of some holes as well as changing some of their angles they consulted Tom Mackenzie and Martin Ebert whose company has been involved in course work at top class venues such as Royal Portrush. Lytham St Annes and Royal St Georges.
One of the early developments involved the 81 bunkers of which 30 changed positions and 51 changed their contours to suit the modern game.
Another aim was to return the course to its heathland heritage and they brought in tree specialist John Nicholson in July 2017 for advice.
Following this were removed a substantial number of trees to improve ventilation and 90 per cent of the gorse on the course was removed by some terrific robot machines and we are now looking to regenerate the heather on the course.

A lot of the work was carried out by the course manager Andy Ralphs, who has been at the club for 30 years, and his team who were absolutely terrific in all that they did. Also the members played their part in supporting the work being done even though it meant that they had to put up with the work interfering with their golf at times. The 15th hole has also been significantly changed with improved drainage, new bunker positions and the removal of a big bank of ground making a big difference when it is in play. The work was completed in February with the new 15th hole opening in June 2018, some five and a half years after it was started and all at the club and visitors are delighted with what has been achieved. Among the early visitors to the new course lay out were the finalists from the Ladies East and West Cheshire Leagues playing for the
county titles and they were very impressed by all that had been done.

Photos & copy courtesy Geoff Garnett

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