The Interview: Tim Gilpin

Tim Gilpin
Beau Desert’s general manager discusses how the club plans to emerge from the shadow of Covid and the work that’s going on to enhance its position as one of England’s best courses Tell us a little bit about Beau Desert… It’s a Herbert Fowler course and one of only 16 courses that is solely Fowler. It is subtle in its design, and both risk and reward is apparent. The greens are probably its most prominent feature, in the sense that they’re very undulating. They’re also quite big in areas and if you miss in the wrong place, you’re going to struggle to get up and down. We are on the Cannock Chase, which is an area of outstanding natural beauty. It’s just lovely scenery throughout; as you walk round there is a sense of calm and isolation and you’re left to enjoy the challenge of the game. As we speak, there’s hope regarding the pandemic but it isn’t going away any time soon. How do we keep what has been a ‘golden summer’ going? How do you see Beau Desert moving forward? We have a full membership with a two-year waiting list. As a team we strive to look after our members, and do the right thing by them, we therefore can still look at 2021 as being positive. We have to be cautious – we’ve gone down the road of doing a budget, which is based on six months under a Covid scenario, and six months of normal business. Ultimately, no-one is certain of what is going to happen in 2021, and how clubs will be able to operate. On that basis, it just means we need to be a little bit more careful about how we spend and being careful with our flexible costs. It is, however, important not to be too cautious where we stop investing; everyone appreciates that a year not advancing, is a year where you go backwards. At Beau, we brought in architect Ken Moodie, and at the beginning of last year, he produced a course design plan for us, which is exciting for us all – the team and members alike. There are some amazing ideas where he can take some of the holes to another level – and those who have played at Beau will know that is some statement! We’re going to invest in that design over a number of years, which also incorporates the reconstruction of bunkers, which has been the weakest area of the golf course. Over the last two years, managing the heathland aspect has also been imperative in our plans, particularly in keeping the values of Fowler in his original layout. Because a heathland is always moving towards becoming a woodland, thinning out of the tree line for all the reasons of light and airflow is a necessity for the playing surfaces, however we are always mindful of what is taken down and what can stay. We want to remain a heathland. We have to manage that,...
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