T: +44 (0)1274 565131

Ashton-in-Makerfield Golf Club


The challenges

STRI was responsible for the preliminary planning, design and project management works at the new site. The existing 16th and 17th holes needed to be taken out of play while the pipeline construction work was being completed. In advance of this, two new par 4 holes were to be created on the newly acquired land.

The historic parkland location of the club meant that any new design had to ensure the existing plants and wildlife were suitably protected and preserved. Architectural and Environmental services from STRI were engaged to ensure the integrity of the project.

The objectives

  • To create two new holes to the required specification and integrate these within the existing golf course.
  • To ensure development of the project was delivered on time and within budget.
  • To deliver an effective design which incorporated the requirements of public safety.
  • To protect and preserve the integrity of the course’s parkland setting.
  • To increase the range and quality of priority habitats.

The solutions

As part of the planning application for the new site, STRI undertook a Contaminated Land Survey. This was necessary as contamination with clinker in the upper 0.5m of the soil profile had been discovered during site investigations. Trail pits were excavated to 0.5m depths at the site to determine the depth and quality of the topsoil. No evidence of clinker contamination in any of the topsoil horizons was discovered. It was concluded that clinker contamination was limited to depths below 200mm. The survey also concluded that tipping had not taken place at the site.

The preliminary planning phase and design proposal stage presented several challenges. The proximity of the M6 motorway required that adequate safety considerations be made and that course boundaries were secure without compromising the design integrity of the new holes. Various options for design were considered, including the quality of individual golf holes, the course length and balance, development requirements and associated costs, the future creation of bunkers and the potential for additional practice facilities. Various concept design options were considered to optimise use of the available land and the final design was selected. Development of the design was undertaken with the contractor throughout the course of works.

STRI Ecology & Environment consultants were extensively involved through the planning phase, in the completion of surveys and the production of an Environmental Management Plan which facilitated the rapid approval of planning permission. The historic parkland location associated with the environs of the site contained many protected species of both flora and fauna, including great crested newts, bats and bluebells. It was necessary to make provision for their protection during the contractor phase of the development and to ensure that the design included areas for additional habitat. Newt ponds were created and over fifty bat boxes placed in the woods in and around the course. Extensive planting was also undertaken around the boundaries.

In spring and summer 2009 grading processes were undertaken to form perimeter mounding and deliver associated wetlands and ponds. In addition, another team was deployed by the contractor to work on the new green construction and tee formation. A Flood Risk Assessment was carried out to mitigate against additional drainage flows. New ponds and associated Sustainable Urban Drainage System (SUDS) features were designed and constructed to ensure there was no increased flood risk. Topsoil was re-spread on completion of the grading works, the fairways were seeded and the greens established with selected turf.

The results

  • Successful design and establishment of two new greens and two sets of tees based on modern construction principles.
  • Successful cultivation and establishment of fairways.
  • Advice on ‘grow-in’ and aftercare maintenance with additional technical support provided by STRI as required.
  • Golf Club Treasurer, Allan Pilling, commented on the new development: “It has been great to work with the STRI architect to create the new holes and we are very pleased with the result. Our members will have a really first-class course with some new challenges.”

Contact STRI:

St Ives Estate
West Yorkshire
BD16 1AU

Tel: +44 (0)1274 565131
Fax: +44 (0)1274 561891

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