Herons' Reach Golf Club in Blackpool thanks Peter Alliss for his grand design
The death of Peter Alliss has brought much sadness to the golfing hotbed of the Fylde .... but nowhere more so than at Herons’ Reach Golf Club.
The Blackpool course close to Stanley Park is among more than 70 co-designed by Alliss, who died on Saturday, aged 89.
A top player in the 1950s and ’60s, contesting eight Ryder Cups, Alliss will always be remembered as a golf broadcaster and commentator with the BBC for 60 years, right up to last month’s US Masters.
But Alliss was also a prolific designer of courses, creating 50 around the world in tandem with Dave Thomas – including The Belfry and the Seve Club in Japan – before teaming up with Clive Clark to design a further 22.
It was Alliss and Clark who accepted a commission from the De Vere group to design a course for their Blackpool complex, resulting in the opening of the Herons’ Reach club in 1992.
Director of golf Richard Bowman has been involved at the club for 24 years and welcomed Alliss back to the course several times.
Richard told The Gazette: “Peter was instrumental in the design of the course and always took an interest in the club. He was an ambassador for us and I had the pleasure of showing him around.
“When he was up here for an event at Royal Lytham and St Annes he would call in and ask how we were getting along.”
At Herons’ Reach, Alliss fashioned a challenging but highly enjoyable course, which features 10 lakes and accommodates abundant wildlife as well as golfers.
Residents include the protected great-crested newts and a rich assortment of wildfowl.
Bowman added: “At Herons’ Reach, Peter created a really interesting course, making use of the landscape and lots of local features.
“Every course is unique and ours has a lot of interesting holes ... and a lot of water.”
Like courses across the Fylde and throughout the world, Herons’ Reach is hoping for a better 2021.
“We’re all looking forward to getting some normality back next year,” Bowman said.
n Royal Liverpool and Royal Troon have been confirmed as the venues for golf’s Open Championship in 2023 and 2024 respectively, extending Royal Lytham and St Annes’ wait for this showpiece event to return to the Fylde coast.
The world-renowned Fylde links last hosted the Open in 2012 and remains hopeful of getting the nod for 2026, which would mark the centenary of its first Open Championship.
The cancellation of this year’s event due to coronavirus has now seen the next four scheduled Open venues move back 12 months.
Royal St George’s in Kent will now host The Open next July, with the 150th at St Andrews taking place in 2022.
It was confirmed yesterday by governing body the Royal and Ancient that Royal Liverpool remains the venue for the 151st Open, now taking place in 2023.
The R&A also confirmed Royal Troon as the venue for 2024. The Scottish west coast links last staged the event in 2016, when Henrik Stenson was crowned champion.
Troon was originally to have staged the event in 2023 to mark 100 years since its first Open – raising hopes around Royal Lytham and St Annes that its own centenary three years later would be similarly celebrated.
Royal Liverpool will stage the championship for the second time in nine years, whereas Royal Lytham and St Annes’ wait between Opens is its longest since 1952.
Of the 10 courses currently considered to be on the Open ‘circuit’, only the Donald Trump-owned Turnberry has been waiting longer than RL&SA for The Open’s return.
Royal Lytham and St Annes, which has hosted The Open 11 times, did stage the British Senior Open last year and the Women’s British Open in 2018.