Classic golf course restoration experts Creative Golf Design have successfully completed the first part of a multi-year project to renovate the course at one of the world’s oldest golf clubs.
The award-winning firm finished the first phase at the 406-year old Royal Blackheath Golf Club, in south east London, in September 2014.
The three-phase project includes new tees and bunkers, extensive alterations to existing bunkering and teeing grounds, plus a wide range of general course improvements, and is being carried out in tandem with tree renovation specialists John Nicholson Associates.
The intention is to restore the golf course aesthetically to its authentic 1920s state.
“This work will restore some wonderful parkland views throughout the golf course which had been lost over time” said Club Secretary at Royal Blackheath GC, Gordon Hogg. “Our bunkers will also be remodelled at minimal disruption to the flow of play.”
Creative Golf Design’s Ken Moodie is the second Scottish golf architect to be chosen to update Royal Blackheath, after James Braid last modernised the course in the 1920s.
“There’s a natural thrill, and also a certain weight of responsibility, when you’re asked to make alterations at one of the world’s most historic golf clubs” said the 48 year-old. “To be entrusted with revitalising the course at England’s oldest golf club is a great honour. But even the most cherished golf courses need to change sometimes, whether to bring them carefully in line with the modern game, or to restore them as a result of wear-and tear or perhaps some previous alterations which need to be corrected.”
In summer 2014 Creative Golf Design was awarded the ‘Golf Renovation Of The Year’ accolade in the Private: Less Than $1 Million category by influential golf industry magazine GOLF INC., for its restoration project at the Alister MacKenzie-designed Moortown Golf Club in West Yorkshire, England.
Royal Blackheath and Moortown are two of the latest classic golf clubs to entrust Creative Golf Design to carefully restore a historic golf course. The projects join previous historic golf course work at Royal Wimbledon, Alwoodley, Hollinwell, Aldeburgh and Roehampton in England, Wouwse Plantage in Holland and Dortmunder in Germany, in confirming the company as one of Europe’s specialists in the delicate art of renovating what can be viewed by golfers as sacred ground.
In 2005 Creative Golf Design won the Club Renovation Of The Year award in GOLF WORLD magazine, for its work at another much-loved and historic venue, the 104-year old Coombe Hill Golf Club in Surrey, England.
In addition to course improvement projects Creative Golf Design also designs new golf course developments, having worked in many countries throughout Europe. It is currently working on the early stages of projects in Slovakia, Croatia and the Middle East.
Ken Moodie established the firm in 1998, and has developed a network of experienced consultants including BBC TV commentator and five-time Ryder Cup golfer Ken Brown.
Photograph: New approach bunker and remodelled greenside bunker at Royal Blackheath's 18th hole, with the Grade 2 Listed clubhouse in the background. Photo: Ken Moodie/Creative Golf Design