Investment creates hole lot of success in Great Yarmouth

PUBLISHED: 08:00 25 June 2014

Billy Daniels and his son John unveil their £350,000 investment at Castaway Island adventure golf course on Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth.

Picture: James Bass

Billy Daniels and his son John unveil their £350,000 investment at Castaway Island adventure golf course on Marine Parade in Great Yarmouth. Picture: James Bass

Archant Norfolk © 2014

The Daniels’ family has invested more than £250,000 in its latest seafront attraction - which is already yielding a better than par performance.

When Billy Daniels, 70, opened Pirate’s Cove on the promenade at Great Yarmouth in 1995 it was the first American-style adventure golf course of its kind in Britain.

Two decades on, the carefully manicured course - complete with tropical plants - has earned a reputation akin to the Augusta of adventure golf with fans coming from all parts of the country to play.

Now Billy and his son John, 35, have unleashed their creativity on a second seafront course, opening 18 hole Castaway Island in time for the main holiday season.

The family bought the former Arnold Palmer crazy golf course, near the Sealife Centre, in 1999 but held back on investing in it while the borough council considered a large-scale redevelopment of the seafront.

John, who has carried out most of the design work, said: “Pirate’s Cove was inspired by courses in Florida and California. Our new course has been built along similar lines although we have also tried to make it different.

“In the few weeks it has been open it has been really positively received and people have been coming back again and again.”

John’s mother Marilyn and sister Sarah are also involved in the business and the family is confident about the future for Yarmouth tourism.

He said they had enjoyed a good start to the season, but highlighted the importance of constant reinvestment.

“You can’t stand still in tourism. We reinvest in Pirate’s Cove every year to make it different and keep people coming back,” he said.

In developing Castaway Island, they were hoping to give a boost to an area of the seafront which needed regenerating.

He said: “A lot of people drive over from Norwich and beyond for a game of golf and it is important for us to attract locals so we are not totally reliant on the number of tourists.”

Opening the revamped course has enabled the family to take on three extra staff, doubling the existing number.

John said their ambitions did not rest there and they were looking at the possibility of opening a course inland away from the threat of flooding.

“The storm surge last winter came very close to flooding us,” he said.

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