Liverpool golf facility hires International Design Group to create a new championship layout.
In 2015, the management of Allerton Manor was taken over by GCE, developer and operator of nearby Formby Hall Golf Club. GCE brought in IDG – who designed the par-three course at Formby Hall – to reconfigure the 18 and nine-hole courses at Allerton Manor into one championship-length layout.
“The existing golf course and supporting facilities had fallen in disrepair, following decades of under-investment as a municipal facility,” said Andrew Craven, group director of IDG. “With many pressures on Liverpool city’s budget, investment into golf courses was not seen as a major priority, this resulted in a degrading facility. Allerton Manor had once supported 55,000 rounds of golf a year – a European record – which dived down to approximately 10,000 in 2014.”
The first phase of operations, which has already been completed, saw minor course works, the raising of tees and work on problem areas. A new clubhouse and food and beverage facility were also built. “With the small amount of works completed in phase one, rounds have already shot up to 35,000 a year,” said Craven.
GCE has invested over £5 million in the delivery of initial improvements to Allerton Manor’s golf and leisure offering, creating 100 jobs. A further £15 million has been put forward to deliver a master plan vision that will create a further 150 jobs.
“For the second phase of work, a clear decision was taken to increase the existing par 67 golf course to a 71, in line with the PGA Design Consulting’s (PGADC) safety guidelines and remove the nine-hole layout,” said Craven. “Allerton Manor’s golf course, much like most UK golf courses, was failing to engage with younger golfers – a systemic problem in British golf.
“The decision was taken to introduce two key facilities to the golf estate to increase the social mobility of the sport to youngsters, a fit-for-purpose driving range and an adventure golf course. Again, the driving range adheres to PGADC guidelines and provide 20 floodlit bays suitable for individuals and teaching groups. A much-needed grass tee has also added options for summer months.
“The adventure golf course adjacent to the new golf pavilion will be an 18-hole all-weather putting course influenced by the design of some of the greatest golf holes from Liverpool’s famous golf coast. GCE see this facility as being of particular importance, not only will it be commercially successful in its own right, but to act as an incubator for many children as they get their very first chance to give golf a go without any specialist training equipment and at a price they can afford.”
According to Craven, full golf course works will begin this winter.
Georgia Ball, a golf professional at Allerton Manor, said: “We want to offer opportunities to everyone who is potentially excluded from sport and outdoor recreation including younger children – especially girls – and disability groups. Golf for all is not a slogan, it’s a passion.”
As part of the transformation of Allerton Manor, the Grade II-listed, formerly derelict, Manor House is being restored and converted to create a 31-bed boutique hotel and spa. Also, GCE is implementing a state-of-the-art golf pavilion with pro shop, restaurant, changing facilities and video teaching rooms.
The target date for the completion of all work at the club is 2024.