Reynolds Living magazine sat down with one of the world’s top shooters to hear his plans for Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds.

What enticed you to come to Reynolds?

I was introduced to the Reynolds team over a year ago and after seeing Sandy Creek and the balance of what was already in place at Reynolds, I recognized that this was a rare opportunity to help create a sporting ground and experience that was very special. Here, we have worked with the top experts in the sporting world, such as Promatic, the British trap machine maker and designer, and Beretta, the gun maker who will supply the guns. Frankly, this is my dream job—creating not just a world-class facility, but perhaps one of the finest resort sporting grounds in the world.

How does the terrain around a sporting ground affect your choices?

The land that surrounds the Sandy Creek Barn is magnificent. The beautiful countryside meanders through old orchards, ponds, hills, and hammocks, and creates a realistic “walking the countryside” feel almost as if you were on a hunt. In many aspects, designing a sporting clays course mirrors how a golf architect might lay out a golf course, and as many of them will tell you, the best work they’ve done has been on ground where the less they had to do the better. The more natural the course looks and plays, the better, and I have been blessed at Sandy Creek with terrain that lends itself to what I truly believe will attract shooters from around the world.

So what can visitors expect?

We have designed a traditional, yet innovative, sporting ground, similar to one you would find in Britain, that offers a superior day of sport for any outdoor enthusiast. The course is for everyone from novice to expert levels, for men, women, and children. Whether coming alone, as a family, or corporate group, the experience is set up so guests may simply make an appointment, show up, and we take care of the rest. Upon arrival, guests will be greeted by our team, watch a short instructional video, and be outfitted with safety equipment, including hearing and eye protection and vests. Next they will be fitted with a Beretta shotgun and introduced to a certified instructor who will accompany each group through the course via an off-road, all-terrain buggy. If a guest isn’t a shooter, no problem. There is an endless list of exciting and peaceful activities, including fishing, kayaking and canoeing, and hiking. Guests will be provided with everything they need for the perfect day out.

How long should a visitor plan to stay?

With respect to the shooting course, think of it like a golf day. You can spend a couple of hours or a full morning and then spend the afternoon participating in other sports. So it can be a half or full day, whatever the guest prefers.

How many guests can be accommodated on the sporting clays?

The layout is designed to manage up to 200 guests over the course of a day. The shooting sports are managed much like a golf course, with 20 stations and up to five shooters at each station. Then there are the various other sports that each visitor can participate in. Corporate lunches and dinners can be provided at the Sandy Creek Barn.

What about weather?

Remembering that this is a sport popular in Great Britain, shooting and other outdoor sports are done in all weather, year round. The only exception is lightning.

What was your favorite part about designing this new facility at Reynolds?

I have designed a lot of sporting clay courses but this is a level above with sporting clays and so much more. It has been a wonderful experience to be involved in a project with such a large scope and with the extraordinary layout of the grounds, lake, forests, and orchards. It lends itself to the design and couldn’t be a more perfect setting for a sporting ground that appeals to any outdoor enthusiast.

You are originally from Wales and have not only competed on behalf of the U.K., but spent several years instructing members of the British Royal family. What traditional elements of a sporting ground found in the U.K. have you incorporated into Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds?

We have certainly brought a touch of British tradition and heritage to the facility. Guests will enjoy an excellent sporting experience and feel like they are shooting in what may be Scotland, England, or Wales. A perfect example of our meticulous attention to detail while preserving the art of traditional shooting is that we have commissioned local stone masons to build authentic Scottish grouse butts by hand, creating what will become a landmark station, Station 12, called “The Glorious 12th”—commemorating the thrilling start of the Grouse Shooting Season in Scotland every year on the twelfth of August.

Can guests find instruction in the various shooting sports?

Professional certified instructors will be available for lessons in the various sports and guests can continue to improve their skills as you would with golf instruction.

Sorry to make you brag, but you have quite a resume of students. Would you share a few names?

It was an honor to be asked by HRH Prince Charles to stay with him and instruct his guests at Sandringham, and I have had the privilege to shoot with HRH The Princess Royal, HRH Prince Andrew, and other members of the British Royal Family on several of their shooting estates. I was also invited by the Jordanian Royal Family to create a private shooting ground at the home of HM King Hussein of Jordan, a man admired throughout the world for his efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. I’ve coached many celebrities and heads of industries including William Clay Ford, Sean Connery (“Bond, James Bond”), Harrison Ford, Sylvester Stallone, Wayne Gretzky, Steven Spielberg, Gene Hackman, and Ringo Starr.

So what’s next for Sandy Creek Sporting Grounds?

I have my heart in this beautiful project, so after opening Phase One this October, we will continue to improve and tweak the overall experience. Moving forward, we anticipate the addition of several new sporting activities.

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