Three Locks Golf Club’s £750K programme of investment
As the age of austerity looms large, flexibility is fast becoming a key word in business. The old Henry Ford adage of having any colour as long as it’s black no longer holds water in a business environment that has been forced to re-shape and evolve as the golf market moves further away from its traditional image.
While clubs up and down the country are making the decision to invest in their assets, there is a growing move among suppliers, which recognise the current difficulties facing clubs, to adapt their practices and work more closely with the individual needs of each course, whatever their budget may be.
Three Locks Golf Club outside Milton Keynes, close to the border of Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, which has unveiled the completion of a £750,000 programme of investment that saw the construction of a new clubhouse, bar, restaurant and changing facilities, represents well this new business dynamic where suppliers increasingly look to offer as flexible a service as they can in order to help aid new developments.
The proprietary club first opened its doors in 1992, yet since then little major work had been done to its non-golfing facilities. Despite its 270 current members and a strong pay and play following, Three Locks, like many golfing equivalents, had suffered as a result of the downturn. “We felt now was the right time for investment,” explained director of golf, Peter Critchley. “Many clubs like us around the country are still recovering after the effects of the recession and we knew that investment had to come if we were going to attract more players.”
The developments began in 2010, moving the site from the old farm house location to a new more prominent position on the site on the existing car park. As part of the plans, the decision was taken to incorporate a fine dining experience and new changing rooms. “We wanted to involve a local restaurant, Nicholl’s, one already established in the area, to get on board and be apart of the new project,” he explained.
One of the most interesting aspects of the finished project has been its strong green credentials, which mean the new clubhouse is now nearly fully powered by renewable sources. The central focus of the energy production is its ground source heat pumps that are positioned in trenches that had been dug prior to construction under the new car park. Heat generated from these provide warmth for the whole building while the extensive solar panelling that covers part of the roof provides energy to heat all the water needed for the house. Alongside the major energy sources, all the smallest details have also been met, including LED lighting and 25-year bulbs. “We’re nearly fully self-sufficient in energy now,” Peter confirmed. “The only area where we use any natural sources is in the kitchen, where gas is used for cooking. We knew that at times like these it can no longer just be about having a good course, we had to offer members and visitors an experience, with comfortable top quality facilities a central focus.”