WORK has begun at St Ives Golf Club's new 18-hole course on the eastern edge of the town. The club has been at its site at Westwood Road for 85 years but will move to its new premises at Needingworth in 2009. Club president Philip Casey said: "This is a very exciting time in the history of the club. "The existing course has served us well but now we have outgrown the facilities. This is to update them to meet the needs of sportsmen and women in the 21st century. "We are a thriving club with players of all ages and abilities. I am confident the landscaping of the course and the design of the associated facilities will offer players some of the best golf for miles around." The new site - 230 acres at Giffords Farm, near Needingworth - will include an 18-hole links course, driving range, practice facilities and club house. More than 250,000 cubic metres of earth will be moved to build the course, creating lakes and low-lying wetland areas as part of the scheme. Three holes of the existing site at Westwood Road will be released to developers as building land in 2009. The remaining land is set to be reconfigured into either a six-hole course, a nine-hole pay-and-play or an academy for aspiring golfers. Course architect Cameron Sinclair said the new course was challenging to design. He said: "Our aim has been to create a natural-looking course that will make a positive contribution to ecological diversity by creating a new wildlife habitat. "Each hole will be set up to be challenging but fair for all levels of ability, with the hole strategies designed to reward the thinking golfer, rather than simply favouring the longer hitter. "The ultimate goal is to create a good test of golf in a pleasant environment that will appeal to all." Attending the official launch of the construction work were the club's oldest, youngest, most successful and longest-serving members.