THE man who designed JCB’s planned golf course development believes the dream to make it part of the European Tour is a ‘realistic aim’.
Robin Hiseman, golf course architect for European Golf Design – a company co-owned by the Tour – said the site will match any professional golf venue.
He said he immediately knew the potential of the 240-acre greenbelt area as soon as he visited it.
He said: “I took a call from Alan Thompson and he first touted the idea to me, so we had a bit of a Google Earth conference to look at the site.
“Then I came to have a look in person and was immediately struck by the lovely surroundings of Woodseat Hall, which will become the clubhouse. There are so many different landscapes on the site. It never gets boring or stuck in one setting.”
Mr Hiseman told the Advertiser the course will be challenging and have several ‘interesting’ holes.
He pinpointed the par three 17th, which will see golfers attempt to play over the lake to a green on an island in the middle, as a particularly challenging hole.
He said: “The 17th hole will be challenging and, combined with the 18th hole, will provide a dramatic finale to any round of golf.
“When I was introduced to the course, hole 17 wasn’t in the plan but I was walking around the site and saw the lake and island when the idea popped into my head.
“Several of the holes are really interesting. The first hole’s a very fast start on what used the be the old Uttoxeter canal.
“Lord Bamford wanted the water to be visible from the clubhouse so we’ve widened it dramatically.
“Holes 11 and 12 are in woodland and are very pretty to look at and I can’t wait to start building hole 13 – we’ll really put the JCBs to work on that one.”
The course will be exclusively for JCB’s potential clients unless it becomes part of the European Tour and Mr Hiseman said it will be built to reflect that.
He said: “We’re mindful that the corporate game has a mixed ability range so there are several options as to where we’ve put the tees.
“Weaker players can tee off closer to the holes. For example, the four tees on hole 17, which is a par three, will have a distance of 215 yards between them.
“The dream to get the course on to the European tour is realistic. I’ve designed a lot of high-profile courses, including Spain’s candidate for the Rider Cup.
“JCB’s is a special site and could easily be adapted to hold a tour event and, if it did, more temporary jobs would be created for course staff.
“We’re very well-advanced in the process of obtaining planning permission. We’ve done all the technical drawings and they’ll be submitted shortly.”
European Golf Design was charged with creating a ‘tour-proven golf course to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with the very best contemporary course designs in the UK’.
And Mr Hiseman is ‘confident’ his design meets that requirement.
He said: “We’re taking full advantage of a rich landscape that includes deciduous woodland, classic English farmland and historic parkland with many arboretum-standard specimen trees.
“We are looking forward to building this JCB course and, as you might expect, JCB machines will be doing all the work in what will be a 240-acre shop window for its product range.”
As part of the project, several disused old buildings on the Rocester site will be rebuilt to serve the golf course.