Plans below par

Dear Editor

In response to the Gazette’s latest update regarding the new houses that are to be built on the site of the Basingstoke Golf Course.

Many of your readers will already be aware that the relentless ‘urban sprawl’ to the south west of the borough was to be continued with an extra 1,000 houses on Kempshott Park.

However, Basingstoke has already grown so much that the existing facilities can barely cope.

The North Hampshire Hospital do their very best, but we all know how difficult it is for them with not enough doctors and nurses to look after us all.

Basingstoke Golf club has been in existence on its present site at Kempshott Park since 1928, and for many years has been the most prestigious Golf Club in the area.

It has been an excellent 18 hole Parkland course with a long and varied history.

The course was designed by James Braid who was one of the top golf course architects of the early part of the 20th Century.

He also won the British Open Championship on five occasions.

Prior to 1928, Kempshott Park and the nearby Kempshott House were the home of the Gourlay family who had their own private 6 hole golf course there.

The daughter of the family was Miss Molly Gourlay who was the Ladies English Women’s Champion in 1926.

As I continued to read through all the latest news regarding the forthcoming plans for Dummer G.C. it became clear that Dummer was being looked upon as being below standard in some ways and that the course was ‘too easy’. 

I wish to remind readers that the course at Dummer was designed by Peter Alliss and Clive Clark who were both golf professionals with a long and successful playing career.

Later in their lives they worked together to design quite a few golf courses including Dummer.

Sadly, Peter Alliss passed away quite recently and cannot reply to the criticism of his work.

Had he been able to do so I feel sure that he would have done so in an accurate and highly entertaining manner!

In his absence I feel that I must briefly add a few points in support of the quality at Dummer. 

The course occupies a fine position with excellent drainage, therefore players can usually enjoy all year round golf without the fear of finishing their round with muddy golf shoes.

Also, as the course is sited on a fairly elevated position it is frequently affected by the wind, hence many holes become tricky to play as golfers have to deal with strong cross winds.

For the last five years or so the greens at Dummer have been in excellent condition throughout the year.

This is all thanks to Alan King and his staff and all their hard work.

Most of the greens have slopes and undulations, and so holing long putts requires quite a lot of skill.

The amount of changes that are planned will certainly cost millions of pounds, and I am sure that it will all be carried out in a thorough and professional way.

Sadly though, the Basingstoke district will have one less golf course and in return have 1,000 extra houses that the majority of people do not want.

Melvyn Hills, Kempshott