Newly-acquired by award-winning leisure brand Darwin Escapes, The Springs golf course is being upgraded by original designer and former Ryder Cup captain Brian Huggett, with architect Tim Lobb.
A major upgrade of The Springs golf course is underway by Brian Huggett, the courseʼs original designer, in association with golf architect Tim Lobb of Lobb + Partners.
The Springs is part of Darwin Escapes, one of the fastest-growing leisure brands in the UK. Darwin now has twenty locations across the UK, offering a wide variety of self-catering holiday accommodation, from luxury lodges to quirky treehouses, along with an extensive range of leisure activities. The Springs, acquired in July 2017, is the group’s second golf course, joining the Kilnwick Percy Resort in East Yorkshire, bought in April of the same year.
Lindsey Esse, managing director of Darwin Escapes, said: “We look to buy sites in stunning locations, where there are opportunities to improve and enhance the existing offering, and The Springs fits this criterion perfectly. We recognized the considerable potential of The Springs, and with significant investment in the facilities, we aim to create the best golf club in Oxfordshire.”
After acquiring the course, Darwin quickly made contact with original designer Brian Huggett, who suggested involving Lobb + Partners. “I have known Tim for a long time and I recognize him as one of this countryʼs best golf architects,” said Huggett. “Fundamentally, the routing of the course is very sound, but as with many courses of that vintage, the bunkering is now in many cases out of play. The new owners want to lift the overall standard of the course and the golf offering – they are investing heavily in the clubhouse as well as the course. We are going to bring the course right up to date, using Blinder bunker liner and other modern construction techniques, along with contractor Profusion Environmental.”
Lobb said: “The Springs is right next to the Thames and is a beautiful layout by Brian. With a little bit of careful work to bring the course up to the level of its surroundings, it will be a very successful golf resort. In addition to bunker work, we are adding a number of ladiesʼ tees, and doing improvements to the lakes to reinstate some of the walling. For example, on the seventeenth hole, a short par four, we plan to build a retaining wall in the lake and bring the water a little closer to the green. Essentially, we are pushing the lake away from the center line, and attempting to make the hole more enticing.”
Ashley Pheasant, Head of Golf at Darwin Escapes, commented: “We are excited about the plans proposed by Brian and Tim, and with the changes that are already being made to the Clubhouse, the overall experience at The Springs will significantly improve for our members and visitors thanks to the investment being made by Darwin.”
Picture caption: From left: Tim Lobb, Brian Huggett, Lindsey Esse and Anthony Esse in front of an updated bunker on the third hole.