Chart Hills Golf Club's Nick Faldo-designed course is set to reopen after year-long redevelopment.
The Kent course is considered one of the ‘sleeping giants’ of English golf, but it looks set to be reawakened on June 1 when it relaunches following an intensive year-long redevelopment.
The decision was made to officially close the Nick Faldo-designed course in July 2020 with no re-opening scheduled until all 18-holes had been completely renovated.
The focus of the project – led by Director of Golf Anthony Tarchetti, and Course Manager Neil Lowther – was to completely re-lay the fairways and deliver smooth and playable year-round surfaces.
Every fairway was completely stripped, exposing the bare soil with the maintenance team laying thousands of metres of irrigation piping down before more than 30,000 tonnes of sand was shaped onto the holes.
There’s also been a complete bunker overhaul of Chart Hills’ famous 100 plus sand traps.
The result is the restoration of a playable, yet challenging layout that will be presented and manicured to championship standards year-round, set among some of the most scenic countryside in the south east of England.
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Ramac Holdings (also owners of Prince’s Golf Club on the Kent coast) purchased Chart Hills in December 2019 with a significant task in front of them as they looked to restore a course that had suffered for several years.
“We’ve made enormous strides and are hugely proud of the product we will be presenting," said a delighted Tarchetti.
"While the work has been significant, we absolutely will not rest on our laurels…this is just the beginning of a road of continuous improvement at Chart Hills with plans already in place to continue developments over the coming years.
“Meanwhile, we’re extremely excited to welcome our members and their guests back to the club in the coming months.”
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Initial planning indicated that Chart Hills' complete course refurbishment would take more than two years to finish, with the hope of a late summer opening in 2022. However, the emergence of the Covid-19 pandemic and forced closures due to government restrictions, presented an opportunity to dramatically accelerate the timeframe.
Off-course, the entire venue has been remodelled, with a completely redecorated clubhouse, all-new club shop, modernised bar area, improved car park and signage, and upgraded practice facilities including a state-of-the-art simulator room.
Kevin Brown, Today's Golfer's Courses Editor, is particularly excited to return to the Kent course.
"Personally, I can’t wait to go back to Chart Hills and play the new-look course, scene of my one and only hole-in-one (on a full 18-hole course) a few years back," he said.
"Obviously the venue holds good memories for me and I’ll never forget hitting that wedge shot into the signature short par-3 17th, with its island green, and seeing the players on the 18th tee jumping up and down as my ball dropped! The Editor was less pleased when he saw my bar bill on my expenses the following week!
"From what I gather, Chart Hills' 17th hole has been subject to a full green renovation - as with the rest of the greens – while the entire pond and green surrounds have been cleared for reeds to make it more aesthetically pleasing."
The full facility, including the striking and vast clubhouse, will be open and fully operational from June 1.