‘THIS golf course is the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle that is South Derbyshire.’
These were the proud words of Frank McArdle, chief executive of South Derbyshire District Council, as he outlined the grand plans for the site, off William Nadin Way, with Colin Jenkins, the PGA qualified professional responsible for designing the Swadlincote Family Golf Centre.
Mr Jenkins revealed that the plans were to make golf ‘fun, accessible for all the family and competitively priced’ and also that the driving range at the site is on course for its planned spring opening.
“This will bring gold to the doorstep of so many people and make it so easy to take part,” he said.
“One of the remits here was golf for all, we did not want it to be an exclusive members’ club but something that all the family can enjoy.
“We understand that the game of golf will come as something new to a lot of people but it is our job to show them the benefits and get them enjoying the game as much as we can.
“We do a lot of work with schools and, in other areas of the country, we have a lot of youngsters enjoying golf as part of their school life, something we are keen to replicate here in the future.”
The first phase of the course to be completed will be a sprawling driving range.
This will then be followed by a spacious putting green and eventually an 18-hole golf course.
Mr Jenkins added: “The site is now coming on really well.
“The road is going in now and the car park is being constructed.
“The environment itself is a great one and will provide an excellent place to play sport.
“There is a lake in the middle of the course, an abundance of wildlife and all manner of scenery, which will boost players time at the course.
“It has been built to a spec, one that focuses on community golf.”
Mr Jenkins, the chairman of the Organisation of Golf and Range Operators (OGRO), has extensive experience of sculpting and shaping courses to increase the enjoyment of players.
He also revealed that no pricing structure had yet been set for the course facilities and the initial step up will require only a few specialist members of staff, with more expected to be added in the future.
He added: “It will be pay as you go golf, all people will have to do is turn up and play.
“But there will also be an option for people to buy season tickets if they want to play more regularly.
“We also hope to host tournaments in the future.
“Not the Ryder Cup but ones that will still help raise the profile of the area.
“We understand that this is a big deal for the area and we are determined to get things right and spot on.
“We will be the first to admit we are here to make money but we want to do it by offering the best possible service and the best product so that people keep coming back.”
Frank McArdle told the Mail that this was one of his and the council’s passion projects and he was ‘delighted’ to see the progress being made.
He said: “If you could imagine South Derbyshire as a big jigsaw , we see this as the final piece.
“The area has a thriving business park, a thriving retail park and a thriving tourism operation – this will be the icing on the cake.
“It will be a benefit to the community, which was always the plan in the first place, but also bring yet more people into South Derbyshire than ever before.
“Everyone is so excited about the arrival of this golf course and I cannot wait to see people from across the area hitting balls down the fairway.”
Mr McArdle also revealed that three major hotel chains have been eyeing the possibility of developing a site at the golf course.ww