THE MERE GOLF RESORT & SPA
GOLF MEDIA GUIDE
WELCOME TO THE MERE GOLF RESORT & SPA Our 18 hole, 6,882 -yard, par-71 course was created out of 150 acres of Cheshire parkland in 1934. Today, the Championship course holds the reputation as one of the best maintained and highest quality golf courses in the North of England. Surrounded by mature trees, flowering banks and with stunning views over the Mere Lake, the course offers the charm of the Cheshire countryside, coupled with a range of challenging features to test your precision and driving skills! Water, ravines and thick vegetation have been incorporated into the landscape, demanding care and accuracy whilst navigating the course. To prepare for the challenges of The Mere's golf course, the resort offers players a unique floating golf ball driving range, two-tier pitching green, putting green and bunker practice area where players can warm up before a round. Expert golf tuition is available, with personal sessions provided by a resident professional golf instructor. Stop off for a drink and a light bite at the 11th Green Bar and enjoy a range of hot snacks, alcoholic beverages and soft drinks to refuel and refresh. Or wind down after your game in the contemporary Club Lounge & Bar, serving drinks, lunch and offering panoramic views over the lake. Over the years, The Mere has hosted several high profile championship tournaments. Thanks to the high standard of the golf course, and the efficiency of event management from the resort team, they have yet again been selected to host the R&A Open Qualifier for the seventh consecutive year. Whether you’re visiting for a golfing weekend, teambuilding day out, pay and play session, or wish to become a club member, we have a variety of world class golf options to suit.
A BRIEF HISTORY A historic hall at Mere can be traced back to 1086 and feature in The Domesday Book. In 1834 the ‘New Hall’ was built close to the Mere by Peter Langford-Brookes (who we later named our staff room, the ‘Langford Lounge’ after) In 1934 the estate was purchased by Edgar Hart for development as a country club. Harry Quick was appointed Chairman (we named one of our finest suites after him), James Braid was appointed to design the golf course (hence our James Braid Suite), and George Duncan (the inspiration for our executive boardroom) was appointed as the clubs first professional golfer. On 19th January 1973, a horrific fire destroyed the majority of the club house. The Mere was later purchased by Stephen Boler in 1984, with hospitality expert Max Brown appointed as General Manager. We later named Browns restaurant in his honour. Mark Boler, took over ownership from his father in 1998, with visions to expand and create a resort. He was joined by Gary Corbett as Co-Owner and Company Director in 2010 as an £11.5 million investment transformed the property to create the Health Club and Spa in 2011, followed by the 81 bedroomed hotel in March 2012. The Mere was then repositioned and unveiled as The Mere Golf Resort & Spa. We have since been host to the R&A Open Qualifier for seven consecutive years, an achievement unheard of with other golf resorts. Today, we have a team of over 200 staff, a collection of awards for customer service excellence, two AA rosettes for our restaurant and a shared passion for premium quality hospitality.
WALK IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF CHAMPIONS Lee Slattery, The Mere’s associated Tour Professional who ranks among Europe’s top-40 golfers on current form, passed on his five top-tips to Golf World magazine recently in a feature shot on location at the resort. Straighter drives, chipping techniques and holing more putts where included as images were taken from tee-to-green on the 18th hole as well as the 17th green. The Southport born star credited his short game practice sessions at The Mere for turning his form around last year where he had five top-ten finishes in 2015, including the victory in the M2M Russian Open, ending the season with earnings of €845,048. “Lee has literally spends hours and hours on the practice putting green when he’s at home and we’re delighted that the dedication he’s shown is paying off with his consistent form over the past 18 months,” said Golf Operations Manager of Golf Ian Berry.
Before turning professional in September, top English amateur golfer Ashley Chesters followed up his T12 finish at the 2015 Open Championship with victory in The Mere Trophy. The Hawkstone Park player shot rounds of 70 and 68 for a four-under par total to win by two strokes. His two rounds included nine birdies. Playing off +5, Chesters, led Great Britain & Ireland to victory in the Walker Cup matches against the United States at Royal Lytham & St Annes. The Mere Trophy event, which counts Ernie Els as a past winner, is played as part of the Galvin Green-sponsored Northern Order of Merit, featuring leading amateur and professional players in the region.
Course Development Subtle changes to the landscape have taken the prized Championship course back to its original James Braid design of 80 years ago, whilst preserving the character of the famous lake and natural habitat… The 6,882 yard, par-71 course has recently undergone significant redevelopment of its greenside and fairway bunkers. The challenging 15th hole has seen the biggest alteration. A fairway bunker that Braid designed before the course opened in 1935 has been added with the help of an early image of the hole. Trees have also been brought back into play keeping with original design with a mix of 200-year old specimens and newly planted ones. These trees now host several bird species, including Kestrels, Kingfishers and even Buzzards. The Mere took delivery of a new fleet of golf course conditioning machinery in 2015 as part of a £250,000 investment to keep the course open for play all-year round. The 20-piece Toro fleet is among the most sophisticated of its kind and gives the resort a distinct advantage over neighbouring courses that might struggle to open in tricky weather conditions. “With 150 acres of golf course to take care of, it’s always a good time to upgrade our fleet with some new machines which set-up the course perfectly and will continue to do so for the rest of the year and beyond,” said Gwynn Davies. “There are clear benefits for the new fleet including speed and cleanliness of the cut and low maintenance,” he added. Under Gwynn’s supervision, a dedicated team of turf managers and gardeners keep the extensive grounds in tip-top condition. On a daily basis, greenkeepers ensure that the course is properly aerated, seeded, top-dressed, raked and spoon-fed with natural fertilisers to keep the surfaces smooth and the grass healthy.
TAKE A FLYOVER When preparing to play a round at The Mere, golfers have the opportunity to see every hole from their computer or mobile device with impressive flyover videos. Spectacular views of the Championship course and the surrounding Cheshire countryside are captured by a drone camera that gives visiting golfers a clear impression of what to expect when they tee it up. The videos are also screened on a continuous loop in the reception area, just across from Browns restaurant at the heart of the resort. So, you can sit and watch on the four giant LCD screens as you wait for your pre-game breakfast or relax over a drink with your playing partners.
CLICK TO VIEW OUR HOLE BY HOLE FLYOVER
Making a splash More than half a million practice balls are hit into the lake each year - but all of them are recycled, thanks to the efficiency of the UK’s most remarkable driving range. Graham Paterson, a full-time member of the resort team, is the man responsible for collecting up all the floating balls in the lake…which he does all-day, every-day. “On a hot, sunny day it’s the best job in the world”, said Graham. “I’ve got beautiful course golf on one side, fantastic houses on the other and I get compliments all the time about how it adds something special to the golfing experience at The Mere. “Of course, it’s also the only time that golfers deliberately hit the ball into the water, but they all enjoy the practice before they tee off and joke about the splashes they’ve made.” added Graham.
SHOP IN STYLE One of the UK’s largest and most stylish golf shops offers visitors access to many of the biggest brands in the sport. The latest equipment from TaylorMade, Nike and Titleist is displayed alongside some of golf’s top-selling fashion ranges, such as Polo Ralph Lauren, Nike, Galvin Green and Rohnisch. “We’ve styled the shop like a boutique showroom so that customers can see the products at their best,” said Ian Berry, Golf Operations Manager. “But all the other elements you would expect from a pro shop are readily available - from premium balls and clubs to course guides and gloves. “Crested clothing is a big part of our product offering and provides a personal touch for any golfer looking for a fashionable reminder of their time here”, he added. A former winner of the ‘Best Pro Shop in the UK’ title, the Golf Shop is conveniently located inside the main building close to Browns restaurant and the Club Lounge.
CORPORATE VISION Companies looking to host an annual golf day can look to The Mere to provide an event package that delivers success. Having played host to some of the largest corporate days in the North West, the resort has an unrivalled reputation for high class service backed by experienced event management. The resort golf sales team led by Mark Lloyd - complemented by Golf Operations led by Ian Berry - can create tailored golf events to meet business requirements and these can include:
18-holes on the Championship course; Breakfast, lunch and dinner in Browns or the Club Lounge; Unique floating golf ball driving range; Additional practice facilities including a chipping green, putting green and short game area; Expert Golf tuition with our resident Senior Golf Instructor; Golf Shop with extensive golf apparel and hardware ranges; Corporate branding around the 1st tee and 18th green; Fully stocked 11th Green Bar refreshments; A welcome gift pack including course planner, pitch fork, ball marker, tees & pencil; Use of up to 20 golf buggies; ‘Longest Drive’ and ‘Nearest the Pin’ competitions; A golfer’s swing massage, specifically designed to re-invigorate golfers Award winning spa facilities; A selection of 81 guestrooms, including 10 luxury suites.
GREAT IMPRESSIONS Famous local artist Harold Riley – a contemporary of L.S. Lowry - is a big supporter of The Mere and the resort has a special collection of his golfing prints in a dedicated Riley Room. The unique collection contains more than 30 original prints featuring legends of the game that he’s seen in action and depicted along with a personal description of their distinctive playing styles. They include vibrant images of great players such as Walter Hagen, Sam Snead, Arnold Palmer Seve Ballesteros, Jack Nicklaus and Sir Nick Faldo. “We are extremely proud to house these amazing golf prints and give golfers who visit the resort the opportunity to see the fascinating work of such a great artist,” said Mark Boler.
POST-PLAY WIND DOWN SPORTS THERAPY Dedicated Sports Therapist Tom Rutter has become increasingly busy at the resort as more golfers look to stay in shape. Tom, who has been in the role for four years, offers a variety of specialised services to the resort’s visitors, including sports massages, exercise rehabilitation in the gym and hydrotherapy sessions in the swimming pool, as well as creating personalised stretching plans. “A lot of golfers who have come to me have found the sports therapy treatments really useful,” said Tom. “I look at posture and instability in the shoulders, and release soft tissue in the trigger points which makes playing golf much more comfortable.” Appointments with Tom can be made via the reception.
GOLFER’S SWING MASSAGE Whether you require one before, after or even in between rounds, a Golfer’s Swing Massage is the ideal preparation or remedy at the Health Club & Spa. Focussing on key muscles in the back, neck and shoulders, qualified masseurs use an exclusive blend of powerful essential oils and hot stones to de-stress specific areas known to impede the swing. The treatment ends with a relaxing scalp massage to clear the mind - as well as leaving your body rejuvenated and ready for the first tee or an evening enjoying other luxury facilities at the resort. The Golfer’s Swing Massage is available at £65 for a 60 minute treatment.
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT A full range of golf tuition is provided at the resort by qualified PGA professionals from Cain Golf. Lessons are available on request for golfers of all ages and standards. New technology provides digital swing and shot analysis, while sessions including individual, joint, family or junior lessons, plus on-course coaching. Lessons include the cost of range balls, golf clubs & Green Fees. A new junior instruction programme is also available to the next generation of golfers. Get into Golf is a six-week programme aimed at junior’s 16-years and younger. “We cater for beginners as well as accomplished players looking to sharpen up their short game,” said owner Darren Cain. “The important thing is to make the game fun and give our clients the confidence to go out and enjoy themselves on the course.”
HOW TO PLAY THE MERE 7th hole
The second hole in a tough stretch, where low scores are at a premium. Eight fairway bunkers await your tee shot, so whether you’re long or short off the tee you must be accurate. If you find the sand, then a lay-up is advised with water lurking in front of the green. Find the fairway and you’ll be left with a mid to short iron into a back to front sloping green. Water is ready to collect any miss hits.
The Signature hole brings the lake back into play. A split fairway requires a decision off the tee as to where to position yourself and if the green is reachable in two. The approach into the green is downhill and sloping towards the lake so to get on in two is a very good hit. A well position tree blocks site of the green if you make it a genuine three-shot hole. The receptive green slopes back to front. A true risk and reward finishing hole.
1st hole – Par-5, 590 yards: Dog-leg right with Lake Mare in play. 2nd hole – Par-4, 409 yards: Slight dogleg right, two-tiered green, well protected by bunkers. 3rd hole – Par-3, 174 yards: Club selection is the key to negotiate a small water hazard to the right. 4th hole – Par-4, 370 yards: Position off the tee is vital. Two large bunkers protect the green. 5th hole – Par-4, 428 yards – Another testing dog-leg right. Long approach into a small green. 6th hole – Par-4, 437 yards: A draw is favoured off the tee. Tough hole where par is a very good score.
8th hole – Par-3, 198 yards: Demanding tee shot over a large pond. Club selection is vital. 9th hole – Par-5, 531 yards: Slightly uphill but a good birdie chance going into the back 9. 10th hole – Par-4, 427 yards: Fairway bunkers must be avoided to leave mid-long iron in. 11th hole – Par-4, 401 yards: Long, uphill dog-leg left. Stop at the 11th green bar is a must. 12th hole – Par-3, 188 yards: Four large bunkers protect a tricky green. Par here is a good score. 13th hole – Par-4, 484 yards: S.I 1. Long, demanding hole with O.B all down the right. 14th hole – Par-4, 169 yards: The last of the par-3. Green again is well guarded by four bunkers.
16th hole A very sharp dog-leg left with the fairway running out around 230 yards from the back tee. An accurate tee shot is needed to find the fairway so think about leaving the driver in your bag. A long iron second shot is downhill to a raised two-tiered green, well protected by bunkers.
15th hole – Par-4, 393 yards: Stunning downhill tee shot over a ditch which does come into play. Uphill approach into two-tiered green. 17th Hole – Par-4, 371 yards: A round wrecker. A tight tee shot over a natural area will leave a short iron in. Green is very undulating.
A MATTER OF COURSE We caught up with Head Greenkeeper & Course Manager, Gwynn Davies
How long have you been at The Mere? I came here in 2007. I’m originally from Malawi and worked at various courses in Africa before spending a lot of time in America at Windemere Country Club just outside Orlando and a few courses in Naples, Florida. How many members of staff do you manage? 12 full-time staff, including gardeners and seasonal staff. Do you play golf? I play off of about 12, but don’t play that much. We have some great players on the greenkeeping staff though, three have represented their counties. Simon Robinson is the pick and he’s off +1. What’s your favourite hole at The Mere? I’d have to say the 17th. It’s the most interesting for me. We’ve got it back to what it used to be like when it was originally designed with the tee pushed back and tree-lined from tee-to-green. You need a good tee shot to get over the heather bed and the approach shot is really thought-provoking. You’ve got to be accurate and take the lake into account too. How important to the conditioning of the course is local wildlife? Very important. We realised that to help the local wildlife and native species flourish we had to work hard to naturalise our own landscape. In the past year we’ve planted a variety Blackthorn, Hawthorn and native hedgerow plants in our mission to restore the land back to its former glory. The results are there for everyone to see. The areas around the lake also need to be looked after, don’t they? Absolutely. The Mere lake is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest, thanks to a number of rare aquatic plants living in it. There’s about seven different species of fish in there, plus fresh water mussels. We’re one of only two sites in Cheshire chosen by the Environment Agency to be monitored by the Aquatic Health agency.And now you look after bees too? Yes, we have a Bee Hotel. It’s located away from the course, but our new honeybees keep our plants well pollinated and will eventually produce Mere Honey, hopefully at the beginning of next year.
MEDIA HIGHLIGHTS Owen Davies, Golfshake.com Editor “The hotel is a great place to stay, the course is real test of golf with sweeping holes, quick greens and plenty of hazards and the Spa offers a great option to relax and drift off in to our own world. And all this won't break the bank. What's not to like!” Brian Ward, Top100golfcourses.co.uk, Writer “The course is a solid four ball offering and I would give it four and a half if I could. The resort is comfortably a five ball (5/5).” Today’s Golfer The Mere is a class Cheshire act – something you realise as soon as you drive through the grand arch leading into this premier resort. Golf World Lee Slattery – My 5 Best Lessons
DINE The Mere’s 11th Green Bar is one of the most popular landmarks on the course…and well worth the wait according to members and visitors alike! Located just to the left of the flag at the short but tricky par-4, the bar offers hot snacks, homemade soups and a selection of beverages, including a wide range of wines and spirits. “Every golfer should make a point of stopping off at the 11 th Green Bar to refuel and refresh before the challenge of the closing holes,” said Ian Berry, who set out to create a memorable ‘half way house’ experience. “The food is exceptional and the hot pies are a big favourite with all the members and visitors alike,” added Ian. Executive Head Chef Kevin Clark knows from experience what golfers like to eat before and after their rounds. “The pre-round favourite it’s most certainly The Mere Full English Breakfast - a classic, with all the ingredients freshly prepared and sourced from local suppliers,” said Kevin. “After the round it’s likely to be The Mere Recipe Steak Burger with all the trimmings! A homemade steak burger, served with chunky chips and a spicy relish. What better way to round off a day playing golf”. Golfers can find plenty of other options relatively close to the first tee. The Club Lounge & Bar has panoramic views of the course and lake, while Browns restaurant (credited with two AA Rosettes) is situated at the heart of the resort. There’s also the Spa Lounge & Bar located in the Spa and Health Club, as well as the famous 11th Green Bar for drinks and snacks during the round.
DID YOU KNOW? Lee Slattery has been the resort’s associated Tour Professional since the start of the 2014 season. Many of Europe’s best golfers and most promising young professionals practice at The Mere – including Ryder Cup captain Darren Clarke, Lee Westwood, Danny Willett and Matt Fitzpatrick. South African star Ernie Els won the Mere Trophy title in 1989. Sir Alex Ferguson is an Honorary club member. The resort has its own Bee Hotel – a collection of honeybees that not only help to pollenate the local plant life around the course, but also make delicious honey for use in many dishes. Passionate about fresh ingredients, The Mere has its own orchard bearing fruits, vegetables, herbs and berries - which not only taste delicious, but keep the local wildlife and ecosystem happy too. The Mere Lake is an area of Special Scientific interest, thanks to the rare plants that grow in it, including an extremely rare species of Lilly. MEREkat sculptures greet visitors in the driveway, hand-carved from fallen trees after a storm brought them down. The Club Lounge serves a range of unique Mere beverages, including the MEREtini, MEREchinno and A-MEREacano. In one year, The Mere’s 20 golf buggies rack up over 17 million yards.
MEET MARK LLOYD Resort Golf Co-ordinator, Mark is a PGA professional with a background in golf operations management spanning over twelve years. Having worked with some of the UK’s leading golf courses, Mark joined The Mere in 2015 to lead business development for our society and corporate golf days. A real people person with a passion for golf, Mark is commercially-focussed and customer centric. He doesn’t just plan and manage golf days. He brings a wealth of golf events knowledge to create bespoke, exceptionally planned and professionally executed group golf experiences. It’s clear he knows his stuff, thanks to the glowing feedback from a number of corporate and society golf customers… “Everything went well for our golf day. The course was presented in a good condition for the time of year. All of my party were unanimous in their praise for another good day with you.” “I have played many courses the length & breadth of the country plus in Portugal & Spain but I am absolutely gob smacked as to the quality venue / complex at Mere Golf & Country club. The course layout & set up, with greens that PGA pro players would be happy on, with fairways and around the greens, manicured to perfection, the course truly is a gem…” “Mark, I am personally grateful for your help with all the arrangements beforehand. The careful planning all paid off and The Mere has certainly created a great impression with our party.” Previously a keen county scratch amateur golfer, Mark’s career to date includes awards for golf event management, corporate golf sales and leadership, including leading his teams to win Sales Team of The Year (2014) and Golf Venue of the Year (2010). His focus for the year ahead will be to develop The Mere resort’s customer experience, with a five star service from start to finish; “From the initial enquiry, right through to the moment our guests leave at the end of the day, it’s about providing those key touch points that exceed guests’ expectations and have them already planning to return as they leave the grounds.” Mark will be developing our golf days to ensure that we remain unrivalled in our world class service and premium golf day offerings. So, if you’re planning to round up a group for a day out on our Championship course, when working with a professional with such a solid understanding of what makes an exceptional golf event, you can rest assured you’re in safe hands!
GET IN TOUCH For initial enquiries, please contact: Adam Smith at Sports Impact 0208 549 5500 [email protected]
Mark Lloyd Corporate & Society Golf Co-ordinator 01565 832 024 Ian Berry Golf Operations Manager 01565 830 155