A Derbyshire golf club has started work on a brand new covered 12-bay driving range, which it plans to open up to local schools and members of the public to encourage more people to take up the sport.
Erewash Valley Golf Club, in Stanton-by-Dale, Ilkeston, is investing £200,000 in the project, which is being built on the club’s practice area and is due to open in summer 2019.
The club, which was established in 1905, currently has a membership of 750 people and last year was the runner-up in a national competition to earn Golf England’s prestigious Golf Club Golf Mark Award.
Local contractors Johnson Aggregates moved onto the site last month and are currently hard at work developing the land, installing target areas and a drainage system. The task is expected to take 18 months, with construction on the bays due to start over the winter in 2018/19.
The facility will also include car parking for up to 24 vehicles, while the club will also be planting trees and shrubs around the perimeter of the range to help it blend in with the rest of the course and surrounding area.
Club chairman Paul Thomas said that the range is vital to the future of the club because it offers members an extra practice facility and will help to raise extra revenue and encourage more people to play golf, which could help the club to attract new members.
He said: “It has taken us six years to get to this stage, which has included getting the plans approved by Derbyshire County Council following a rigorous planning procedure, so we are all extremely excited to see work finally getting underway.
“It will be wonderful for the membership and to be able to offer local schools, groups and individuals who are not members and who have maybe never picked up a club before the opportunity to come down and have a go.
“It is fitting that we have started work on this driving range so soon after being awarded a Golf Mark. The award is given to clubs which demonstrate their commitment to the continuing development and sustainability of the game of golf and that is precisely what the driving range will do for us”.