Lancashire developers rumoured to be planning an ambitious bid to stage future edition of biennial match
By Martin Inglis
Paris in 2018, Rome in 2022… Bolton in 2026? That could well be the destiny for the Ryder Cup if the Peel Group, one of the UK’s largest property investment companies, gets its way.
According to reports in The Bolton News, the organisation is planning to build a new world-class, 18-hole golf course on the Hulton Park Estate on the outskirts of the Lancashire town.
According to the article, the company has so far refused to make any public comment on the matter but sources suggest the Peel Group are ‘very serious’ about bidding to host the biennial match in Bolton.
It may sound like an ambitious, even slightly audacious, proposal but the Peel Group has a proven track record of delivering on bold, large-scale projects.
In 1998, it built the Trafford Centre in Manchester, which it sold for £1.6bn in 2011. Its other projects include MediaCityUK in Salford and Scout Moor Wind Farm, England’s second largest onshore wind farm.
Plans for a new Ryder Cup venue at the Hulton Park Estate are so far unconfirmed but they are rumoured to include an 18-hole championship course, a new hotel, clubhouse and conference facilities, with some suggesting that the development could cost more than £100m.
Preliminary proposals were shared with local councillors in August, with more detailed plans expected to be outlined in the coming months.
A vote on The Bolton News website demonstrated overwhelming support for the proposals, with almost three-quarters of respondents saying that they would welcome an 18-hole course on the Hulton Park estate, purchased in 2010 by Peel from the HultonFamily for an undisclosed sum.
Council leader Cliff Morris was coy on the reports, saying only that ‘there are lots of things to look at and to make sure we get right’.
However, a shareholder at nearby Regent Park Golf Club, Andrew Dickson, described the notion that it could host the Ryder Cup as ‘a littleover-ambitious’.
“The Ryder Cup is the biggest event in world golf,” he told The Bolton News. “it is huge and there are a lot of other courses in the country that would want it.
“It also takes a good four or five years for a new course to bed in but if they make it a stunning course then it could work - good luck to them.”
The announcement that the 2022 Ryder Cup will be staged in Italy was made late last year - seven years in advance of the match - meaning if similar protocol was to take place this time around, the 2026 Ryder Cup venue would be announced some time in 2019.
The Ryder Cup has been staged in England on 15 previous occasions, most recently in 2002 when Sam Torrance led Europe to victory at The Belfry, pictured left.
Lancashire venues have hosted it six times: Southport &Ainsdale in 1933 and 1937; Royal Lytham& St Annes in 1961 and 1977; and Royal Birkdale in 1965 and 1969.