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Lord Bamford to see golf vision come to life

By UttoxeterPostandTimes.3522974.UttoxeterPostandTimes  |  Posted: January 15, 2014

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THE vision to transform 240 acres of green space into a state-of-the-art golf complex was ‘entirely’ the idea of JCB chairman Lord Bamford.

The £30 million investment is one the newly-appointed peer thinks will pay for itself in the long-term.

And, if ambitions to make the course a fully-fledged European Tour venue are realised, JCB chiefs claim that Uttoxeter’s economy will start to reap the benefits of more people visiting the area.

With a similar course built by US farming machinery firm John Deere making it on to the US tour as the John Deere Classic, executives in Rocester are confident they can make similar achievements.

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Property director Alan Thompson and CEO Graeme Macdonald, who are both from golf-mad Scotland, are looking forward to teeing off when the course is completed in 2019.

Mr Thompson, who has a handicap of six, said: “It was completely Lord Bamford’s idea.

“He came up with the idea of taking this area of land and making better use of it to increase our sales.

“Over the years he’s played with the idea but golf’s developed so much now as a global sport he decided now was the right time.

“I come from Fife, where you’re born with a club in your hand, so, on a personal level, I’m highly delighted.

“I’m a member at Denstone College golf club though and I’ll still be making a lot of use of their facilities.

“It’s going to give our clients an extra incentive to visit us and we want them to come for golf weekends before doing business.”

Mr Thompson has emphasized the benefits the 18-hole course will bring to Uttoxeter and the surrounding area by attracting new business.

He said: “For the whole area, it will attract a lot of business and, if it did get on the European Tour, others from outside the business world would get the chance to play on it.

“Everyone who visits will be looking for accommodation and places to eat and shop so it’ll be great for the local economy.

“The time scale will be to have the planning application submitted at the end of January.

“From there, it will take 16 to 20 weeks to be determined but we’re hoping to start construction, which will take about four years, in the summer.

“The 100 jobs this will create – and we’re talking about permanent jobs – will go to local people.

“And, if we did get on the European Tour, we’ve got land the other side of the B5030 that could potentially be used to provide parking and other infrastructure.”

Mr Macdonald, who himself has a handicap of eight, described the new complex as ‘the biggest marketing tool available to JCB in its history’.

He told the Advertiser that, if the European Tour dream is achieved, the worldwide television coverage it would bring with it would ‘put the JCB brand firmly on the world stage’.

He said: “It’s a very exciting enhancement we’re making. It’s not just a golf course.

“It’ll attract customers and enhance JCB’s brand significantly.

“It’s another example of great vision from our chairman.

“We do take a very long-term view at JCB.

“Lord Bamford has always got it right in the past and I’m convinced this course will be a huge success in the future.

“He’s not a golfer so he was focused purely on how to continue building his business.

“Golf’s a truly global game now and, personally, as a Scotsman, they say you’re born with a club in your hand so I’m really looking forward to this.”

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