Golf Course Profiles

Beal Valley Golf Course development following landfill, Oldham, Lancashire, UK

PROJECT - A new 18 hole course being created after a long term landfill operation designed to form (ultimately) the golf course - Moorland


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This is a joint venture between Oldham Metropolitan District Council and The Casey Group of Companies and commenced in 1995 as a Steve Marnoch Golf Course Architecture project with the initial plans forming part of the SMGCA literature, then was worked on by Steve Marnoch when co-director of G&M Ltd and now being completed as a golfmarnoch Limited project.

Beal Valley was originally an unremarkable amphitheatre on the outskirts of Oldham but after receiving in excess of 1.8 Million cubic metres of inert waste, the final contours are being formed to reveal a golf course topography.

The course design at Beal Valley has come with its own set of complexities and a long a complex planning process was carried out by the large team of consultants appointed by The Casey Group in addition to their own in-house landfill and other technical experts in order to obtain planning permission. The normal ecological, agronomic and drainage concerns were in evidence from the start but just as important was the stability of the engineering design and water management aspects of this huge project.

Ground investigations and on-going calculations and consultant support within the team are an essential part of this type work as are accurate on-going surveys to check the fill levels in order to comply with all the legalities of this complex project.

The designs have had to take into account the preservation of the existing Beal Valley floodplain, proximity to a local but very busy rail line, steep existing contours and huge depths of unstable peat (humus).

To conceive a golf course some 15m in the air above the existing landform took some doing initially and demonstrated the foresight and skills of Steve Marnoch in providing the detailed new contours (the working levels for the landfill) for the golf course. In addition to the contouring suitable for the golf course topography the other complexities of land drainage and re-landscaping have also had to play a large part. This part of Oldham is pretty elevated Moorland and the concept for the golf course follows that theme and playing the course will ultimately be weather dependant but the proposed re0vegation of the site will be moorland in character and it is hoped to establish areas of heather and other typical moorland vegetation.

The environmental transformation is currently in the latter stages of the engineering fill construction and the final surfaces pre-golf course construction will commence later this year as the final stage of the land fill project.

Following this it is intended that The Casey Group of Rochdale will build the golf course fine featuring working from the basis created during the landfill. Casey's have had a great experience in the past working for the Former President of the European Institute of Golf Course Architects in carrying out construction works at Denton GC, Hazel Grove Golf C, Fairfield GC, Pike Fold GC, Blackly GC and the Cally Palace in Dumfriesshire.

The on site control in placing such a large volume of engineering material is an art form in itself and a good working relationship between architect, engineer and machine driver is vital.

The result at Beal Valley will be the creation of a challenging upland course looking out to the moorland landscape of northern England.


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