Work has started on an ambitious scheme to create a £30 million championship golf course designed to support JCB’s growth plans.
The proposals are for a spectacular 18-hole, 7,150 yard, Par 72 championship golf course on 240 acres of rolling countryside to the south of the World HQ in Rocester, Staffordshire. When completed in 2018, it is expected that up to 100 people will be employed in groundscare and hospitality roles.
JCB Chairman Lord Bamford marked the start of work on the project as a 36 tonne JCB JS360 tracked excavator officially cut the first sod of earth on the 240-acre site. A total of 10 JCB machines will shift half a million tonnes of earth between now and next June when the first stage of the project, which involves profiling and contouring of the site, will be completed. When finished, the golf course will be the biggest marketing tool available to digger maker JCB in its 69-year history.
Lord Bamford, who conceived the plans for the scheme, said: “My vision for this golf course is for it to build an even stronger awareness of the JCB brand around the world and help drive increased demand for our products. It’s wonderful to see the plans start to come to life and I look forward to its completion in 2018.”
The course, which was granted planning permission in July, will be designed by European Golf Design – the golf course design company of IMG and the European Tour - best known for the 2010 course at Celtic Manor in Wales, host of the 2010 Ryder Cup.
It will be built to tour-quality standard and could potentially host a major tour event, attracting competitors and spectators from all over the world. Lord Bamford’s idea for the course follow an announcement in early December that JCB will invest £150m to build two new factories in Staffordshire and significantly increase production to meet an anticipated growth in demand for its products.
At the heart of this premier golf development is Woodseat Hall, an 18th Century mansion currently in ruins, but which will have a new lease of life under plans to renovate it as the course clubhouse, complete with a new luxury spa, leisure facility and five-star hotel-style accommodation for visiting JCB guests from across the world.
If the course were to host a major tournament, the television coverage would certainly put the JCB brand firmly on the world stage. It would also help to raise the profile of Staffordshire and promote the county as a tourist destination to millions of people around the world.