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England, Hampshire, Liphook GRD Rating 8.6

Old Thorns Manor Golf

Golf breaks at Old Thorns Manor Golf, England. GRD Rating: 8.6





Resort Summary

A superb hotel, spa and golf complex in Hampshire.

Old Thorns is situated just outside the Hampshire village of Liphook, only forty minutes from London and the same time from Portsmouth. Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas designed this superb layout, opening it in 1981. The course is cut through beautiful, undulating woodland and has enough natural features to ensure it remains in the memory long after playing your round. Not overly long by todays standards, the par 72 layout is an ideal test for any golfer, whilst also being fun to play. In 1982 - its official inauguration - Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Isao Aoki and the then reigning Open Champion, Bill Rogers, played a four ball. Aoki won the day with a score of 69, thrilling the crowds and delighting the new owners.

The course was originally design as a private members club, but was soon bought out by a Japanese company, which then specialised in attracting the Japanese market. Old Thorns flourished under the Japanese ownership, but in 2007, the resort was sold to the Shaw family. The great opportunity that Old Thorns presented was obvious to Martin Shaw and his brother Mark, when they bought the business in 2007. They had previously transformed Dunston Hall in Norfolk, before selling it to the De Vere group. GRD caught up with Martin Shaw recently

'We have embarked on a massive program of works here, which is very exciting. The basic golf course and hotel were a little run down when we bought the business, but we could see there was great potential. We are building a major leisure resort and have benefitted from some of the issues related to the economic slowdown. Labour is definitely cheaper for a start, but more importantly, we can get great reliable staff to work to the conclusion of the project, rather than leaving for a better offer when we reach a critical stage. The project will be pretty much complete by 2013, but much of the work will be ready to open this spring. We obviously need to trade throughout as we host a large number of weddings and corporate functions. These events arent a natural mix with construction work, so we will be keeping any disruption to a minimum. We are very pleased with the way this transitional phase has been handled, both by our building team and the Old Thorns staff.'

As Honorary President, Peter Alliss has a strong affection for the club. He lives nearby and his youngest son Henry is Golf Operations Manager. The fabulous Alliss Family Suites are named after him and Peter is often seen at the club, both socially and also in relation to his business ventures. GRD spoke with Henry Alliss about the new developments

'There is a lot of energy emanating from the transformation of Old Thorns there is a real buzz from all those involved with the development of the site. We have known the place for years, as the family links go back to my childhood, but since the Shaws bought the business it has really taken off. I am responsible for all aspects of the golf facility and have to co- ordinate many of the events as well. We will host over 140 weddings this year and our occupancy is currently running well above the sector average, at nearly 80. This has allowed us to actually raise our prices slightly and demand a premium for the massive investment that has been put into the club.'

The golf shop offers an extensive range of the latest golfing fashions and PGA professional, Peter Chapman and Stuart Rust are both officially registered to sell Titleist custom fitted clubs. The shop is full of strong brands and well positioned to serve the needs of members, visitors and hotel guests. The golf range is only suitable for irons, but with a smart DryRainge cover, it is well located next to the ever extending club house and hotel facilities.

With their experience in golf and hotels, the Shaw brothers are quite clear on the type of facility that they want to achieve. A golfing hotel such as Old Thorns can only have a maximum of 250 members, as it would overload the course to have any more. It is very important to have enough space for all the various users and not solely rely on members, green fees or hotel guests. Those arriving for a short golfing holiday also fall into various camps a boys trip will want a different type of experience to a mixed group of couples. Trying to accommodate them both in close proximity is a recipe for discord, so this is one of the main reasons behind the new Sports Bar. The Sports Bar will have various different levels, a branded coffee outlet, a vast bar and its own 100-seater restaurant. There are five new conference rooms directly above the Sports Bar, which cater for varying sized groups of 30-60. If the conference is larger, then the Hampshire Suite might be appropriate, as it has a larger capacity and can easily cope with dinners and functions of 120 or more.

The Grand Ball Room is larger still, and can seat 230 in great style for any type of function. The various function suites, hotel accommodation, restaurants, clubhouse and bars are joined by a beautifully built structure known as the link. It is just that, and a key part of making the new facilities integrate. The hotel guests and spa users can integrate with the potentially livelier action of the Sports Bar, or spend a quieter time relaxing in the areas set aside purely for residents. The spa and health club have been transformed into some of the most up-to-date relaxing and luxuriously facilities and treatment rooms in the country. The whole spa has been fitted with the latest ESPA treatment rooms and it is not surprising that this aspect of the business is so very popular. The current pool is being expanded and a new block built around the existing to provide more space and luxury, but also to continue to provide an exceptional leisure experience throughout the building program.

Perhaps one of the boldest statements of the complex is the newly opened Atrium Bar known to all as the Champagne Bar. Magnificently appointed, with brass, leather, oak and other quality furnishings, high ceilings and a host of exotic artworks from around the world, the Atrium Bar is real class. Serving the very best champagnes, wines and exotic cocktails, it opens at 7pm every evening and is the perfect place to enjoy the cocktail hour. It manages to exude relaxed style and a certain air of excitement a very clever piece of planning, as it just what many on a special break would yearn for, and the perfect place to have a good bottle of pop to celebrate their visit!
Martin Shaw is building the complex to a very high specification. His vision is bold and he readily admits that he may one day sell the complex, so he can continue with another plan

'I love this type of development. We aim to offer a high-end 4 star leisure facility, which will be perfect for all types of people, businesses, special events, golf trips, holidays and local trade we want to be the best place to come in the whole area. Our 4-star quality will be matched with 3-star pricing, so we are assured of a great reception by our guests and customers, who will not be able to match our offering anywhere else.'

Old Thorns is an exceptional resort and one that will set new standards for the industry and also provide new ideas for all operators.

Currently Old Thorns is investing in a major upgrade to our gym facilities. Current facilities include a 16m indoor pool, All circuit training and aqua aerobics classes, Technogym equipped gymnasium, Sauna & Steam room. Alternatively the Spa, a intimate retreat of tranquillity, a caring and peaceful environment to nurture the spirit of modern life. A place where you will be guided to a deeper state of relaxation, where your body can wind down and your mind can run free. Old Thorns offers two unique socialising experiences in The Atrium and Sports bars. The two bars offer something for everyone and are the perfect setting for socialising with friends and family.

Golf Courses

Championship Golf Course
18 holes
6461y
5908m
Par 72
Designed by Peter Alliss & Dave Thomas
The par 72 course has an illustrious history. Plans for its development started in 1976 and came to life in 1981 when Peter Alliss, Honorary President of the Club and Dave Thomas completed the construction of the course they had painstakingly designed. A year later its official inauguration saw Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus, Isao Aoki and the then reigning Open Champion, Bill Rogers, play a competitive four ball. Today the course is meticulously maintained to the very highest standard.

Accommodation

Old Thorns Hotel in Hampshire offers rooms of exceptional grace and comfort, some providing views over the championship golf course and the hotels beautifully landscaped terraces. Also have available are a range of substantial family rooms as well as the generous Penthouse apartments and the quirky Beams Suite. Bathrooms are welcoming and spacious, offering an exceptional combination of style and function.

Food and Drink

The perfect place for a savvy lunch, or a special dinner, The Kings Brasserie restaurant offers a carvery and a brasserie menu served in a relaxing and contemporary surrounding, with stunning panoramic views over the championship golf course. Due to it's popularity booking is strongly recommended for dinner. The Sports Bar is every sporting fans dream live sky sports in an environment themed with sports memorabilia and an animated atmosphere with the bonus of classic pub cuisine. The Bunkers Restaurant offers a more intimate setting for dining, and is the ideal location for golfing groups, societies and corporate days. Traditional golfing favorites such as shepherds pie, lasagne and a chefs special will all be found on the menu. Old Thorns offers two unique socialising experiences in The Atrium and Sports bars. The two bars offer something for everyone and are the perfect setting for socialising with friends and family.

Golf Tuition and Practice Facilities

Players have at their disposal a fleet of golf buggies and all your golfing needs are taken care of in the spacious, well stocked PGA approved Pro Shop. The Estate also offers practice facilities including a putting green, driving range and a resident Professional offering lessons and clinics.

Location

Enquire & Book Direct

Quote: GRD1021

Tel: 01428 724555

All prices quoted are subject to change and availability. Please contact the resort directly to confirm all costs, dates and booking arrangements.

Website: http://www.oldthorns.com

Booking details:
Copy of our terms and conditions are available on request

Address

Old Thorns Golf & Country Estate
Griggs Green
Liphook
Hampshire
GU30 7PE
England

Getting there

0.5 miles West of Liphook, 26 miles NE of Portsmouth
Nearest airport: Gatwick Airport
Travel options: Easily accessible from the A3 London to Portsmouth route, Old Thorns is less than 30 minutes from the M25.

Google Map: Click Here for a map

Resort facilities

  • Gym
  • Sauna
  • Swimming Pool

Hotel facilities

  • Bar
  • Internet
  • WiFi
 

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