“But we wanted to try and use the attributes we have in the dunes. So, we’re very lucky that we’ve got a lovely piece of land that has natural slopes and mounds, and we’ve probably accentuated quite a few of those to bring in the coastal experience a little bit more. Now, you can see the sea a lot, you can hear the sea a lot. I think that’s a nice addition when you’re coming to play Links Golf, particularly along this coastline.”
“In the last five years, we’ve transferred members that were older than 70 and 80 to members that are, more or less, between 40 and 60. Almost 300 members have been tilted from one age to that age. So, in a way, the average handicap is also lower, but we also have many more rounds of golf played per year. We’ve come from 20,000 to 35,000 rounds of golf in the last five years.”
“We are taking some strategic steps next year to address the pace of play and improve the experience for everyone. So we are selling rounds in 2024 at 13-minute intervals and we have operated for 30-plus years at 10-minute intervals. We are intentionally reducing the number of players — roughly 15-20 per cent of our availability because we want to focus on the quality of the experience, rather than the economics.”
“I was very settled at Porthcawl, but I think from my time at Sunningdale there were two clubs if I was ever going to move back to this area, if the jobs ever became available, it was Sunningdale or The Berkshire. The attractions of The Berkshire were that it has two fantastic golf courses both in the top 100 in most rankings, an excellent membership and the opportunity to help further and grow that club.”
“We work really closely with the young people who come to the academy to educate them about the importance of maintaining the environment. Seeing the golf course makes them understand how important it is to protect nature. We also go out into the community to deliver education programmes, and organise plastic and waste collections. Together we are making a dramatic difference to our community.”
The renovation of the Links course is at the centre of a major upgrade that La Hacienda is currently undergoing, with other investment plans including a new five-star Fairmont hotel (opens in 2024), real estate, clubhouse, practice facilities, beach club and halfway house. The original Links layout (which was formerly called Alcaidesa Links) was inaugurated in 1992 and designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark.