West Sussex golf club Mannings Heath is undergoing one of the biggest changes in its 100 year history....the new owners are converting one of the two 18-hole courses, the Kingfisher, to 9 holes and planting a vineyard on the 500 acre estate to create a ‘wine experience’ at the 18th century manor and clubhouse.
On the decision to convert the Kingfisher course, Penny Streeter, managing director of new owners the Benguela Cove group, says: “The enhanced 9-hole layout is more in keeping with the current demands for less time-invasive golf and will encourage youngsters into the game.”
“The changes will take place over time in several phases; this will include redesigning some of the holes, incorporation of alternative tees for a different back nine, a major upgrade of the practice facilities, including a short game area, and the building of a new pro shop.
"Our golf pros are very excited about these plans and, from the feedback, we are convinced that the decision is the right one."
Players on the 18-hole championship Waterfall course and the Kingfisher benefit from new on and off-course facilities with brand new practice nets recently installed. There are also two putting greens, a practice range, indoor teaching facilities and a fully stocked pro shop.
The owners - who have a vineyard at Benguela Cove in South Africa, as well as two restaurants and a hotel - have changed the name of the club to ‘Mannings Heath Golf Club & Wine Estate’.
Penny Streeter, awarded the OBE for ‘services to enterprise’ in 2006, adds: “We acquired the golf club at a time of general decline in golf participation across the UK. Our plan is to improve the golfing, club and venue experience for members and visitors, developing a ‘wine experience’.”
“Wine and golf work very well together as a concept; we believe it will attract new members, visitors and tourists to the area. We plan to develop a winery and new restaurant, with the spike bar refurbished and re-opening as a wine tasting and spike bar facility, to create additional entertaining and post-golf space.”