GOLF at its most challenging will be at the forefront of a new course growing tall amid wooded splendour.

Rising proudly into the sky - just like its projected green oak-timbered clubhouse - is the new Griffon Forest Golf and Country Club, near Flaxton.

The vision of the clients - Griffon Forest Limited - is for players to enjoy 'the game in a leisurely and beautiful setting', declared the man charged with translating that vision into reality.

Architect of the course, which is earmarked to open in 2005, is York-born golf course designer Bryan Moor.

And while aware that the area is well covered by established courses nearby such as York at Strensall, Forest Park and Forest of Galtres, plus the newly-opened York Driving Range at Towthorpe, the 65-year-old Moor insisted there was ample scope for the Griffon project to flourish.

Declared Moor: "Like the clubhouse, which is being constructed out of green oak, we believe we are building something which is unique to York in that the course facilities will have established ideas but married with new techniques."

The Griffon vision incorporates an 18-hole, 6,800-yard course featuring five lakes, which themselves will cover seven to eight acres. There will be a wetlands area, some new 160,000 trees to plant to supplement the existing woodland, and the possible growth of heathland provided the conditions are right.

"What we are trying to make is so many different segments, so that when you go into each segment you get something different. The idea is that the course is not monotonous, but exciting," said Moor, whose commission has brought him back to his York toots.

Now based in Dalbeattie, where his company OCM Associates are sited, Moor hails from York. Educated at Archbishop Holgate's School when it was in Bootham, Moor established himself as a prominent sportsman in York.

He was a professional at York Cricket Club and in the early 1960s he captained a York Hockey Club side that comprised six or seven county stars, including himself. Moor's younger brother by six years is Tony Moor, the former York City and Darlington goalkeeper who also skippered Scarborough Cricket Club in several of their one-day triumphs at Lord's.

Moor senior went into golf management in 1963, first at Thetford in Norfolk and then at Sundridge Park, near Bromley, just outside London. That latter club boasted the then distinction of having two major golf courses just six miles from a major capital city.

Some 15 years ago Moor went into the golf-course designing business, which has now led him to development of the course at Griffon Forest which already houses a complex of woodland lodges.

Besides the golf course and clubhouse the venture is to also feature a 20-bay driving range, a golf academy, croquet lawn, and several outdoor tennis courts to supplement the indoor court currently on the site.

The clubhouse, meanwhile, is expected to be the showpiece of it all. The two-floor building will provide a spectacular view over the last lake and the 18th green, a setting totally in tune with the vision taking shape deep in the forest near Flaxton.

Updated: 10:49 Saturday, June 14, 2003