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Golf in the Kingdom and Beyond

Kyle Phillips

ALTHOUGH HIS OFFICE IS LOCATED in Granite Bay, California (a suburb of Sacramento), course architect Kyle Phillips has worked extensively around the world. His designs can be found in Austria, Sweden, South Korea, Scotland, and Morocco, among other countries. Troon Golf & Travel spoke with him in England, where he was visiting his 18-hole creation at The Grove in Hertfordshire.

The Grove, your first English design, opened in 2003. What can you tell us about it?

People who come to The Grove for the day never feel that they have been slighted. The condition of the golf course is always superb, as is the service from the moment people arrive to the moment they leave. For me, it was gratifying to work with the owners and it was a seamless transition when we handed the course over to the operations side of things. In this case, we have had a real consistency of ownership and philosophy, which is always a real benefit to how the final product is received. I have great memories of designing and building this course and it is great fun to carry on working with a lot of the same faces who were here when we opened over 10 years ago.

You’ve said you replicated different types of landforms at The Grove to make it reminiscent of classic English courses. Explain.

This was a classic English parkland site. When you look across the landscape here with the longer horizon lines and you walk through the holes, you start to recognize some interesting landforms, some more dramatic than others. These begin to affect how you think about strategy on a particular hole. So, at a macro scale, the course looks rather sympathetic, but at a micro scale, it really takes on an interesting personality. And part of creating this was remaining responsive to the integrity of the historic landscape that was around it and, at the same time, achieving a great golf experience.

Do you think The Grove model, whereby a premier service and product is offered on the basis of pay and play, should be used more elsewhere?

This model is really unique. As nongolfers, the owners come at it from a different angle and this tends to be where a lot of the good ideas come from; people who are not so deeply connected into golf that they don’t just see the forest but the individual trees. They saw a gap in the marketplace and appreciated the business side. Not having members allowed them to accommodate hotel guests and the corporate market whenever they want to play. Of course, if you have members, they want to play on a Saturday morning and at all of the prime tee times. The Grove model eliminates this conflict by creating a club experience in terms of quality and conditioning, but available to everyone.

People have been talking about controlling equipment for a long time now. Do you think we’re any closer to this and, as an architect, do you think this would benefit the game?

I would love to see some controls because I really believe the game should be more about shot-making. But you can read books that are 100 years old and you’ll see discussions about the ball and how far it was going and how equipment was affecting the game. Even in my short time, I remember Jack Nicklaus hitting it 267 yards from the tee and everyone was aghast at how long he was hitting it. You look at that today and that kind of driving distance is laughable, but that’s simply due to the benefits of technology. As an architect, I have my own views, but my job is to respond to technology on the design side. I have seen an increase in what is considered to be a championship course from the back tees, but people playing from the forward tees expect the same length course as we had 30 years ago. This makes it more difficult to create a course that is playable and enjoyable for the full spectrum of abilities. But this is something that we, as architects, have got to rise to and get better at in order to respond to trends.

Can you, as a golf course architect, do anything to counter slow play?

I think there are things we could do. There is an issue with people trying to learn the game who go to championship- level courses without the required experience. I equate it to skiing. If you take someone who has never skied and send them down a black diamond run, it won’t take long to realize they are not going to be successful. They need the bunny slopes, as do we in golf. We need shorter courses.

Can golf architecture help to enhance player retention?

Every time there is a shift in the economy, people feel like they need to be at work more, so the drop in golfers is just a natural result of the economy, as much as anything else. As the economy stabilizes, people are coming back to playing golf. Nowadays there is also so much distraction from other sports, and there is also the whole world of technology that people can live in and not think about playing sport. Time is precious, so we have to ask, what can golf do to attract people to the game? We have looked inside the industry for those solutions; we’ve heard a lot discussed about shorter courses and par-3 courses within existing golf operations, for example. However, I tend to think that the solution may come from the outside with a different form of golf that becomes the gateway. We are seeing that with screen golf and video golf in some of the Asian countries and in the UK, and those are ways for people to spend a couple of hours with a golf club in their hands and perhaps get excited about golf, and we need that.

Source:  Troon Golf Magazine

The Troon Golf Collection – The Grove

The Grove

When it comes to luxury golf hideaways in and around London, The Grove, which is managed by Troon Golf, certainly takes some beating. A Grade II listed mansion set on 300 acres of picturesque Hertfordshire countryside, The Grove boasts just about every facility, amenity and service you could expect of a 5* resort and its proximity to London makes it the ideal base for an extended British Golf Holiday as well as for a stay and play golf break.

With all on offer at this amazing venue, it comes as no surprise that The Grove has seen a long list of celebrity guests including the likes of Tiger Woods and even Queen Victoria enjoyed weekend breaks here. One thing’s for sure; if it’s good enough for a golfing royalty and actual royalty as well then it then it’s certainly good enough for us Weekend Warriors!

Here we take you on a fly by journey through some of the things on offer at London’s finest golfing retreat.

Location, location, location…

Situated in the beautiful county of Hertfordshire, just outside London, The Grove is one of the most luxurious and all encompassing golf resorts in England. As well as being great for a weekend getaway, The Grove is quite simply the perfect base for golfers from overseas who are looking to explore the golfing riches in and around The Big Smoke.

– Golf –

The Grove’s championship course, which was designed by Kyle Phillips, one of the foremost golf course architects of recent years, is the resort’s crown jewel. The course is kept in immaculate condition all year round and as there are no members; guests are assured to receive an incredibly warm welcome from staff who are very focused on customer service.

Kyle Philips’ edgy design makes a round of golf at The Grove a thrilling experience. As you can see from the picture above, your short game will have to be on song if you miss the greens with your approaches!

SOURCE:  Your Golf Travel

The Grove

Golf World says: The Grove is one of the best golf complexes
in Europe, with an 18-hole championship course set in 300
acres of mature parkland just 18 miles from central London.
Designed by Kyle Phillips and opened in 2003, it hosted a
World Golf Championship in 2006, which was won by Tiger
Woods. With four sets of tees, visitors can select the length of
the course to suit their ability. It’s one of the best-conditioned
inland venues in the UK.

Where: Chandlers Cross, Herts.
Normal green fees: £125-£170.
More info: 01923 294266

The Grove to Host World Golf Championship

Golf Business News

The International Federation of PGA Tours has announced that the American Express World Golf Championship will be played at The Grove from 28th September to 1st October 2006.

It will be the first time that the United Kingdom has hosted one of the World Golf Championships since the series of top class global events was inaugurated in 1999. The WGC – American Express Championship has visited Spain twice, the United States once and Ireland on two occasions, most recently this past week at Mount Juliet Conrad in Thomastown, Co Kilkenny. Read More…

The Best of the Best 2004

Robb Report

The Grove
A modern classic at England’s finest new resort.

Kyle Phillips’ work at Kingsbarns, neighbor to hallowed St. Andrews, has been universally hailed as an almost perfect modern example of the Scottish links course. Now the American architect has created his version of an English parkland course at the Grove, a quirky yet fabulous new resort in Hertford-shire, England, just 25 miles outside of London. Read More…

The Grove Honored as One of England’s Finest

From The Peugeot Guide

The Grove, Britain’s most-talked about new golf resort, has been ranked officially as one of Europe’s finest venues only three months after opening and been placed in the elite category of world-class golfing destinations that includes Gleneagles and Turnberry. The Peugeot Golf Guide 2004-2005, the most influential manual on where to play in Europe and widely regarded as “the traveling golfer’s bible”, has judged the Hertfordshire complex to be one of the most complete resorts among more than 1,000 it surveys each year. Read More…

Grandeur at The Grove

Links Magazine

PRESENTING A SCHIZOPHRENIC blend of 21st-century luxury and chivalric hauteur, a first-of-its-kind English golf resort debuts this summer under the deceptively modest name of The Grove.

Jacuzzis, plasma-screen TVs and “Broadband conferencing are concealed within The Grove’s courtly buildings–one of which dates to 1400 and all of which provided hearth and home to several Earls of Clarendon. Just a half-hour’s drive from London proper, the resort’s grandeur is painted across a 300-acre demesne whose fresh-air pleasures include an aristocratic-looking golf course laid out by the Kingsbarns Kid himself, Kyle Phillips. Read More…

Into The Grove

Business Golfer

With a course designed by the renowned Kyle Phillips and a hotel based on traditional values, The Grove is an irresistible mixture. Alison Root visits the perfect place to combine business with pleasure.

The style and character of the championship golf course underlines Kyle Phillips’ attention to detail. The layout follows a route that’s over rolling tree-lined landscape and owes much to the value Phillips is renowned for throughout the clubhouses of the world. Read More…

New Wonder Near Watford

Golf International

With a course designed by the renowned Kyle Phillips and a hotel based on traditional values, The Grove is an irresistible mixture. Alison Root visits the perfect place to combine business with pleasure.

The style and character of the championship golf course underlines Kyle Phillips’ attention to detail. The layout follows a route that’s over rolling tree-lined landscape and owes much to the value Phillips is renowned for throughout the clubhouses of the world. Read More…

Gourmet Golf at The Grove

Golf Links

That’s how golf course architect, Kyle Phillips, who also designed the stunning and award-winning links course at Kingsbarns near St Andrews , describes his approach to designing golf courses. And this philosophy is clearly evident with his latest creation. Sitting serenely in 300 acres of prime, natural parkland, The Grove, which was formerly the home of the Earls of Clarendon, is a magnificent new 18-hole layout, situated near Rickmansworth in Hertfordshire. Read More…