In pictures: Brave the dinosaurs at stunning Jurassic Links Adventure Golf course in South Cambridgeshire
Will you dare tee-off with a T-rex?
A £500,000 Jurassic Links Adventure Golf is about to open in the South Cambridgeshire countryside, near Melbourn.
Set to be the first site of its kind in Cambridgeshire, the Covid-secure attraction at Kingsway Golf Centre will have an initial launch on March 29, when outdoor sporting facilities will be available for use again, according to the government’s roadmap out of lockdown.
With an official launch following on Good Friday, the course will challenge golfers to putt their way through prehistoric caves, winding fossil paths and a cascading waterfall.
To add to that, some scarily realistic dinosaurs, including velociraptors and a triceratops, have been imported from China by a company based in Taunton, Somerset.
Jurassic Links is designed for the young-at-heart and for families that fancy a safe day out, but also those wanting to embark on a rewarding golf adventure.
A number of the dinosaurs are on site and a 30ft T-Rex is due to arrive in April. There are also plans to have a large pterodactyl on a cage by the entrance.
Julian Dell founded Kingsway with his business partner John Watts more than 20 years ago. John’s son James is now operations director, while Julian’s son, Fred, 20 – a second-year student in international management at Manchester Business School – has also been involved in getting this ambitious new project of the ground.
Julian, 63, said: “It’s a business we’ve owned since the mid-90s, and it was built as a family golf centre, which is essentially what it still is today. It’s a nine-hole pay-and-play, a nine-hole pitch-and-putt, a 40 bay driving range, a very well-stocked and well-run golf store, and a coffee bar.”
James Watts, an ex-professional golfer on the European Challenge Tour, came into the business about four years ago and brought “fresh impetus and fresh ideas” said Julian, who added: “We decided about 18 months ago to reinvest.”
He credits James with spearheading this endeavour, calling him the “brains of the entire Jurassic Links project” and praising him for going “above and beyond to make it such a spectacular venue”.
Some £750,000 has been spent on the expansion of the business, which includes the building of the adventure golf course.
“It’s a dinosaur-themed mini-golf course, which is targeted at everybody really. You don’t need any particular skills to play mini-golf,” said Julian, who lives in Abbotsley. “It’s putting with hazards and a dinosaur theme.
"So the kids love it, the older children and teenagers love it, because it’s a venue to go to for a night out, and then adults enjoy it as well with their children or grandchildren. We’re anticipating that it’s going to attract a lot of people from the area.”
Adventure golf, Julian explains, has its origins in the US. “You can see these places in Orlando by the side of the main street, where there’s maybe a volcano or these big models of dinosaurs or pirates.”
There are a number of adventure golf courses already in the country – including ones near Ipswich and Norwich – but Julian says: “It will be the first and the largest adventure golf course in the wider area.”
Work started on the extremely ambitious undertaking – “we seem to have got carried away with the waterfalls and the lakes and what have you...” admitted Julian – in November 2020, but the pair had been planning it for some time.
“We needed to save up the money to do it!” laughed Julian.
Although the course officially opens on Good Friday, Julian says that they will be “open for business” and accepting a few bookings from March 29. Covid-19 restrictions will mean delayed tee-off times so that groups start at different intervals, and all putters and balls will be sanitised before and after use.
A franchise of popular coffee shop Jamaica Blue will also be on site, with a takeaway service provided before Covid restrictions are eased. Julian said: “Everyone’s so excited. It’s amazing. We’ve put some pictures on our Facebook page to give people teasers of what’s coming, and the engagement has been phenomenal.”
James has been very hands-on with the design, assisting the specialist contractor brought in by the team. “He’s been involved with the layout of the holes and the features that we’ve got, like the safari Jeep that you putt through,” said Julian.
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