Big step forward as Royal Norwich unveils new back-up facilities
- Credit: Archant
The new Royal Norwich Golf Club won't be fully up and running until the end of next summer – but behind the scenes another important step forward was taken on Friday.
While the 7,239 yard 18-hole course, and the six-hole Academy lay-out that goes with it, are rightly taking centre stage, plenty of thought has also gone in to the all-important back-up facilities.
A golf course is only as good as its greens and fairways and following the official opening of the club's Turf Care Centre of Excellence staff will lack for nothing as they build up to the big switch from Hellesdon to Weston Longville.
In fitting with such a large scale development the nerve centre of the club's maintenance team fully lives up to its grand title, with over 900 square metres of space spread over two levels to provide a lot more than just a home for the mowers and machinery.
Built over two levels, the building also boasts a maintenance workshop, training area, office space and staff facilities. It's all state of the art and a big leap forward from the idea of such facilities being housed in a glorified shed.
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'It will be one of the most modern facilities in the country to ensure we can provide members and guests with the very best playing surfaces and conditions,' said Estates Manager Peter Todd. 'It will be the working hub of the new course, from which our team of greenkeepers have a safe and efficient facility with access to the very latest technology and equipment.'
The official opening was carried out by Stephen Bernhard of Bernhard and Company, specialists in sports turf technology, who said the building was 'part of one of the most exciting sporting developments in the country'.
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After cutting the ribbon he added: 'The new course will be one of the finest in the country to play when it opens next year and this will provide the estates team with an outstanding facility to ensure the course is second to none.'
Work at the venue is going very much to plan, with the greens and fairways now all laid out and looking splendid in the late autumn sunshine.
But the grass will need time to bed in and, like the new clubhouse, which is currently under construction, won't be ready for use until the end of next summer, with September the target month. In the meantime the green staff will be splitting their time between the new course and Royal Norwich's historic base at Hellesdon, which will be in full use until the day of the big move.
That site is being now being redeveloped for housing following the multi-million pound deal which provided the finance for the relocation project. A significant area has been fenced off to allow work to get under way, with buildings now starting to take shape, but while two holes have been lost another two have been added to provide members with a full lay-out while the finishing touches are put to the plush new home.