Bury St Edmunds Golf Club have begun extensive redevelopments as they aim to become one of East Anglia’s premier courses.
The changes, which started earlier this week, will see all 18 holes improved and updated in phases over the next seven to nine years, avoiding major disruption to the 900 or so members, with the first two holes already under reconstruction.
Internationally-renowned architects Thomson, Perrett and Lobb, who are headed by five-time Open champion Peter Thomson, have been entrusted to undertake the developments after being commissioned by the Greens Committee for their detailed plan with an emphasis on enhancing the environmental credentials of the course.
Appropriate grasses will be reintroduced to the predominantly chalkland area on which the course sits as well as improvements to aid playability for all categories of golfer, landscape character, key playing angles and bunker placement and positioning.
“Over the years a number of changes have been made to the course and while some were positive, it has also resulted in an unstructured and contradictory approach to improvement,” explained, club secretary Mike Verhelst.
“We felt the time was now right to step back and obtain a professional view of how the course could be improved and believe we have gone with the company that best match our outline and vision.
“We wanted to move forwards in a sustainable and environmentally-friendly way to allow us to ultimately be one of the leading courses in East Anglia.
“A club’s biggest asset is always their course and so if we have one which stands out, then members will stay, as well as new ones joining.
“If we stand still we will go backwards and we could easily do that. The course at the moment is very good but we want to make it great and these improvements will do that.
“The overall ethos was to undertake work just once, instead of changes all the time so that in the long run it will be beneficial.”
Verhelst conceded that the plans were not met with resounding satisfaction by every member, but feels improvements are imperative to heighten the stature.
“Change is never easy and sometimes it is difficult to accept the uncertainty it will bring,” he added.
“However, we will send updates to all our members because importantly we want minimal disruption to them.
“We want a course that is playable to all levels of golfers but also still attract a high standard of player as well.
“Ultimately the better course we have, the more members and competitions we can attract and as a result reinvest in the continual development of the club.
“We want to continue to be successful and the club is striving to do just that.”