The course at Bishops Gate Golf Academy is undoubtedly one of the best facilities in junior golf globally. Here’s the story on how it became so.
In the early days at BGGA, the course was originally an 18-hole golf course that was very short and narrow but with great conditions. It would never be a top-rated golf experience, so changes needed to be made. BGGA Founder and CEO Andrew Summer’s vision was to turn it into a top golf training facility that gained world renown and provided a new approach for completing 18 holes in less than two hours, both of which are imperative for a world-class golf academy experience.
Three golf holes were removed to make a truly spectacular practice range that has nine different zones – three for long game, three for short game and chipping and three for putting, which provides BGGA coaches many options for organizing their student groups and allowing them more individualized training schedules.
The remaining holes were opened up, adding width and length, and shaped around the spectacular oak trees that have matured since they were planted in the mid 1980’s. Two distinct tee box locations were added to create a different challenge for the “front nine” from the “back nine.” The concept of double greens was borrowed from the Old Course in St Andrews, the home of golf, creating variety in the approach shot between the two nines.
For those who are playing in a four ball or who have the time for a four-hour round, they would play the front nine and return to play the back nine. But for those who only have two hours or are caught behind a four ball, they would be advised to play both nines simultaneously, hitting off the front nine tee and the back nine tee at the same time and playing both balls into the green together. A little confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it, it’s glorious in the efficiency of playing 18 holes, or if you have time 36 holes in four hours.
It should be noted that, with the change in handicap rules in 2012, players can now enter a front nine score and a back nine score separately, which brings this approach into compliance with the Rules of Golf (Rule 7.03), that otherwise requires you to play out your ball on every hole before starting a new hole.
BGGA is proud of the concept and also of the challenge our student-athletes face on this shot-maker’s layout.