Gravis Planning continues to grow its advisory presence in golf sector

19 June 2024

Gravis Planning has a proud record of providing Planning and Strategic Communications advice to some of the most prestigious golf clubs in the UK and Ireland. These courses facilitate the hosting of major tournaments and bring millions of pounds into local economies.

Royal Portrush

This experience of providing masterplanning, environmental assessment, planning policy and design advice, goes back to the early 2000’s when our Planning MD, Richard Bowman, was the lead planning consultant on the development of the Lough Erne Golf Resort in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Richard worked with the Nick Faldo design team in overseeing the planning process and associated environmental assessment for the new championship course, holiday homes and the hotel.

More recently, Gravis has secured planning permission for Royal Portrush Golf Club to carry out critical works in preparation for hosting The 153rd Open in 2025, the oldest golf tournament in the world, which is watched by millions of people every year.

This 2025 Open Championship will see up to 250,000 tourists from across the globe come to Portrush and Northern Ireland, providing a huge economic boost to businesses not just locally but across the country. The planning permission for Royal Portrush course improvements was secured in just four months, with time being of the essence to allow the Club to carry out the work in advance of summer 2025. The course redevelopment has been carefully planned to not just preserve, but enhance the landscape of Royal Portrush, given that it is this iconic natural beauty which makes the venue such an attractive location for major golf tournaments.

In addition to the provision of planning advice, this project required extensive strategic communications support including Pre-Application Community Consultation (PACC), which involved public consultation events, remote and online consultation. This was complemented by targeted engagement at all levels of government, including local, regional and Ministerial representatives. This work helped build public support and inform the key decision makers of the urgency of reaching timely decisions through the planning process.

Elsewhere, Gravis is managing a planning application for Portstewart Golf Club for improvements to both its Strand and Riverside Courses and new, state-of-the-art practice facilities. In 2017, the Championship Strand Course hosted the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, with winner Jon Rahm remarking: “It’s probably one of the most beautiful golf courses I have ever seen, if not the most.” It is this reputation which attracts over 10,000 US tourists to Portstewart annually and which the current proposals seek to maintain and enhance.

Gravis is also the retained planning advisor to Royal Belfast Golf Club and has been guiding them on a range of masterplanning and design issues.

Elsewhere in Ireland, Gravis is advising other clubs with proposals yet to be made public.

Commenting on our work as Planning consultant advisers in the golf sector, Group Managing Director for Planning, Richard Bowman, said:

“Golf is one of the most watched and most played sports in the world. The UK and Ireland are blessed with natural resources that are required to create world-class golf courses. We are privileged to be involved in working with some fantastic clients and to be involved in helping ensure The 153rd Open goes ahead as intended at Royal Portrush is very special.”

“Over many years we have developed outstanding levels of expertise in the golfing and leisure sector, and we are confident that we can help other golf clubs in the UK and Ireland secure their planning and statutory consents, to realise the full potential of their courses and facilities.

“If you are in the golf course development business and in need of planning or strategic communications advice, feel free to get in touch with me via email:”

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