Manufacturing powerhouse JCB is hoping to attract major tour events to the West Midlands after unveiling plans for a £30 million golf course.
The giant company plans to build an 18-hole, 7,150-yard, par 72 championship golf course centre on 240 acres of countryside to the south of its headquarters in Rocester, Staffordshire.
It will mean a jobs boost for the region, with up to 100 positions created when work is completed in 2018. The scheme will include a luxury spa and five-star hotel.
Chief executive Graeme Macdonald said there were also plans to attract major golf tournaments, bringing thousands of people to the region.
He said: “The golf course will be the biggest marketing tool available to JCB in its history, helping grow sales and create jobs. If the course were to host a major tournament, the television coverage would certainly put the JCB brand firmly on the world stage.
“It would also help to raise the profile of Staffordshire and promote the county as a tourist destination to millions of people around the world.”
The course will be created by European Golf Design, which carried out work at Celtic Manor in Wales before it hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.
The plans have been conceived by JCB chairman Lord Bamford and will see a ruined 18th century mansion brought back to life. Woodseat Hall will be renovated as the course clubhouse.
The proposals follow an announcement in early December that JCB will invest £150 million to build two new factories in Staffordshire and significantly increase production to meet an anticipated growth in demand for its products.
Lord Bamford said: “As part of our plans to increase manufacturing capacity and grow sales, we need to build an even stronger awareness of the JCB brand around the world.
“Golf is a truly global sport and is a perfect fit for JCB as a global manufacturer as we look to develop strong relationships with customers and dealers worldwide. I’m not a golfer myself but I’m excited by the opportunity it presents us in driving our future plans for business growth.”
The new golf course, which awaits planning consent, will be made available mainly to JCB’s network of 770 global dealers. When finished, golf days will become a feature of the wider JCB visitor experience, which already includes factory visits, the Story of JCB exhibition and machine demonstrations.
Robin Hiseman, European Golf Design’s course architect, has been charged with coming up with the plans, and said he was confident it would meet the requirement for golf tours. He said: “The course design, which is burgeoning with imaginative design concepts, will twist and turn around the natural contours of the site, dipping in and out of the woodlands and involving the existing water features in a range of exciting ways, including the spectacular and unique par three 17th hole, which plays onto an existing wooded island in the South Lake.
“We are looking forward to building this JCB course, and as you might expect, JCB machines will be doing all of the work in what will be a 240-acre shop window for its product range.”