Cowdray’s Par 3 Course ushers in new era

A new Par 3 Course is the icing on the cake of a significant golf investment at Cowdray, with Tim Allen optimistic about the benefits it will bring.

Director of Golf Tim Allen is excited to usher in a new era at Cowdray Golf Club after the opening of its eagerly awaited Par 3 Course.

The new course represents the final phase of a £1million improvement plan at the West Sussex club, with the facility now offering a fresh membership initiative that Tim hopes will further strengthen the venue’s links with the local community and those keen to learn the game.

Having undergone extensive planning, the re-imagined short course is a creation of five new USGA specification greens and greenside bunkers, each reflecting a similar green complex on the main course at Cowdray. In addition, a new short-game area has been delivered complete with new practice green and bunker.

We caught up with Tim to find out more.

Tim Allen, Director of Golf at Cowdray

How proud are you of the new Par 3 Course and what can players expect from it?

“Having the opportunity to build the new course was incredible and I am very proud to be part of a new chapter in the history of the club here at Cowdray. The Par 3 Course is a wonderful playing experience in its own right. Each green has been designed to mirror one on the main course and it really provides a mini feel of its full-length neighbour.”

Cowdray is offering a new membership category for the Par 3 Course, can you explain what this entails?

“The new Academy Membership offers unlimited use of the Par 3 Course, along with other preferential benefits including range balls, tuition and hospitality. We see it as a great stepping stone for new golfers to progress in their journey. It is also a great option for those who perhaps find the undulations of the main course a little too much but want to retain their connection and membership to the club.”

Why is it important to provide such an offering and what does it say about Cowdray’s commitment to inclusivity?

“Having this additional facility provides us with the opportunity to offer the game to a wider audience. We are very proud of the main course, particularly following the recent improvements, however, we understand that it is a challenging layout. The Par 3 Course offers more people the chance to enjoy themselves here.”

How has the development been received and how will it impact on the demographics of your membership and visitors?

“The members have been fantastic in their support of the project and the feedback from them is overwhelmingly positive. Having the extra facility included for them has helped to sharpen up the short game of many and the overarching comment coming from everyone is, ‘That was so much fun!’. It also offers a much quicker option for play for those who a very time poor as playing the 5 holes can take just 20 minutes, so going round twice in under an hour as an example can be appealing. We also offer pay and play options for the new course.”

Not all clubs can necessarily invest in new facilities or upgrades – what else can they do to encourage participation?

“If there are ways to promote the social and health benefits of the game along with fostering strong community relationships, then the game can continue to grow at different levels in all clubs. It is imperative that the first touch point is welcoming, which then creates a natural and positive environment. Naturally the team, including PGA Professionals at the forefront, need to be fully engaged with whatever plan you have.”

What initiatives do you have in place at Cowdray to get people — particularly youngsters and beginners — in the door?

“We have strong links in our immediate community, with free sessions and days held to support local schools. Giving up time is vital to show support in a small community. As is promoting our open-door policy for hospitality. The ‘non-golfers’ that come to the venue for various social events are often intrigued by the game while they are here, in the environment. The new Par 3 Course also has a role in this as it is incredibly visible from the main road and entrance, once again promoting the club and the game. Our coaching team also offer a variety of regular group sessions aimed at newcomers and juniors.”

By GCMA Content Team

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