Letter: Dummer Golf Course to Provide Excellent Facilities

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The photo of her late father hangs proudly in the professional shop at Basingstoke Golf Club (BGC), a reminder of his many years of professional service.

From his historical perspective, his letter rightly acknowledges Basingstoke’s past – golf and in general – but seems to perceive progress, development and growth for the critics.

The dynamic growth of the Town of Basingstoke over the decades is a credit to the guidance and energy of its residents.

Even in this demanding post-Brexit and Covid time, there is a regeneration of our Basing View business area, bringing new businesses and people to the area, people who will need housing of all types.

Having encountered cancer four times, I cannot speak highly enough of our extensive medical services in Basingstoke and Guildford.

Doctors, nurses and other staff, still unknown but essential, will all need housing.

The “relentless urban sprawl” mentioned by Mr. Hills is a vital sign of the growth, renewal and expansion of the Basingstoke family. “Growth and renewal” are encouraging signs, much better than their opposite – a lack of vital signs.

I have been a member of BGC for over thirty years. I had the privilege of being its 2016 captain, former director and president of Green in charge of course development. In my limited time, we made changes under the grass that James Braid – its 1928 designer – couldn’t have dreamed of.

Currently I am chairman of the course working group with responsibility for redesign and development.

His assessment of the BGC, the Kempshott Park Course, fails to mention the increase in water incursions caused by dwellings at the site boundary which altered soil conditions on the course, making the soil mostly clayey muddy in winter. The free-draining, chalk-based geology of the former Dummer Golf Club (DGC) is one of the reasons for the move. Neither recent ground personnel nor the original designers need his defense.

With their annual course budget, the ecological staff at DGC did an excellent job of upkeep under the circumstances.

Peter Alliss and Clive Clarke – the original designers – took an unpromising piece of land and built a challenging downland golf course using 1992 specs and standards for that level of course. Many changes have taken place over the years.

I have met the voice of golf, Peter Alliss, on several occasions. On a 40-minute phone call on Saturday morning that he spent, we discussed his Dummer design and proposed modifications, such as rebuilding the greens to modern specs. Far from taking the changes as a criticism, he seemed thrilled at the prospect of Dummer’s new lease of life and wished us the best.

As a committed golfer since the age of thirteen, I have no doubt that the late James Braid and Peter Alliss would revel in the exciting opportunity to rebuild themselves. Weller Design of Farnham, BGC Course Architects and current committees are working hard to give BGC one hundred more years to meet the demands created by modern equipment and golfers who expect to play every day of the year.

It is hoped that BGC will provide an excellent sports and social facility for our new businesses, doctors, nurses, other workers and our members. There is plenty of medical research indicating that golfers live longer. We hope that BGC (new), our yet-to-be-built golf resort, will once again be the region’s premier membership club, an attraction ground and a healthy and vital sign of Basingstoke life.

This is a personal point of view and not an official statement.

Ron Waller, Axford


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