Future-proofing Pike Hills
A high quality extension and refurbishment project at Pike Hills Golf Club was officially declared open by board director David Chapman, with the club’s two longest-serving members Jean Wrighton and Ray Newbiggin doing the ribbon-cutting honours.
And it wasn’t the only stroke of excellent pre-Christmas news for the York club’s members, as planning permission was finally received for a major on-course redevelopment programme which will eventually see three new holes built and others vastly improved.
The new-look clubhouse was actually designed by Mr Chapman, an architect, and Pike Hills chairman Martin Robinson said he was owed a debt of gratitude – as indeed were the club members for their patience.
There is now a new entrance to the clubhouse and improved access via a lift to the 1st floor bar, restaurant and patio. Larger, improved ladies changing rooms are another significant addition for a club with a very healthy lady membership.
But the extension is only the start of improvements for the club adjacent to the A64, as work is due to begin involving a partnership with Booth Ventures.
Chairman Robinson said: “Booths have done a similar job on a smaller scale at Headingley Golf Club, but we will eventually have millions of tons of soil coming in, with 80 lorry-loads a day when we get going.”
A new access road will be built from from the A1237 ring road and used to import the soil – close to the rear of the current 13th hole – which will be all of a guaranteed quality.
“Every single load will be quality tested,” he added. “Booths have put an awful lot into this project.”
With the golf course running around the Askham Bog, a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, surveys into hydrology, ecology, bat habitats, migrating birds and even newt tracking had to be undertaken before Booths and the club got the go-ahead.
The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the Environment Agency all had to give approval.
But possibly the best news for the Pike Hills members is that it won’t cost them a penny!
All the benefits Pike Hills get are part of Booths’ business plan in disposing of
huge amounts of topsoil. What’s more, the club have been guaranteed having a full 18 holes to continue playing even as the work goes on – which could last as long as five years.
The new holes, laid out by highly regarded course designer Jonathan Gaunt, will be on land the club purchased some 20 years ago and improvements will see holes currently affected by flooding have their tees and fairways raised.
The new holes will be finished and brought into play before work moves onto the existing course.
Regarding the disruption, Mr Robinson added: “Pike Hills started life as the Knavesmire Golf Club 120 years ago, and had another home in Acomb before relocating here in 1922.
“This project has probably been in development for five or six years and much credit has to go to stalwart members Adrian Hodges and Jack Smith, who have worked tirelessly to get us to where we are. They have been crucial to building such a positive relationship with Booths.
“Of course there will be disruption, but this isn’t about we older members, it’s about future-proofing Pike Hills Golf Club for our younger people. That’s what we have to focus on.”