News Roundup

• BGL Celebrates Outstanding Year at Annual Awards Night

Burhill Group Ltd (BGL) celebrated its best-performing venues and individuals at its annual group awards night, held at Hertfordshire venue Aldwickbury Park Golf Club.

The packed venue, with attendees from all 21 of BGL’s UK golf and leisure venues, was in a celebratory mood to toast another hugely successful year for the group while enjoying an outstanding performance from comedic operatic quartet, Opera on the Run.

Both Adventure Leisure Limited, BGL’s leisure subsidiary, and the group’s golf division had a lot to celebrate after a year which saw the business launch two new leisure venues, as well as new brand BUNKERS! brand, and report substantial growth in Rounds Played figures across it’s 10 golf venues.

“Our annual awards night is always a great event and a fantastic opportunity to shine a spotlight on the hard work and dedication of our employees and reward some of the exceptional work being done at our venues across the country,” commented Colin Mayes, BGL CEO.
“It’s one of the rare chances we get to bring all of our staff together under one roof to have a thoroughly enjoyable night and celebrate our colleagues’ successes.”

Thornbury Golf Centre, in Bristol, enjoyed a particularly fruitful evening in the golf division awards, claiming a bevy of accolades including the prestigious General Manager of the Year award for Tim Good and Best Operating Profit Performance award, among a total of seven honours. Lisa Almond from Mr. Mulligan’s Stevenage venue scooped General Manager of the Year for the company’s subsidiary Adventure Leisure division.

“I would like to congratulate Tim and his team for their hard work and commitment to delivering a truly outstanding year at Thornbury,” commented BGL Operations Director, Guy Riggott. “The recognition is well deserved, and we are very grateful to everyone for their continued efforts.”

It was also a successful awards night for Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, as the Nottinghamshire-based venue recorded the highest average Net Promotor Score (NPS) and was awarded with Sales Team of the Year, in addition to taking home two more awards. Moreover, Adventure Leisure Ltd presented the Sales Manager of the Year accolade to Siobhaun McCartney from the Newcastle site.

Staying true to its commitment to rewarding long-standing individuals for their service, BGL handed out special recognitions for staff with 10 years of experience with the group, as well as an extra special presentation for David Marshall, a greenkeeper at Ramsdale Park Golf Centre, and Heather Pickerill in head office for a remarkable 25 years each with the company.

Reflecting on 2019, Mayes said: “It has been another very productive year for both our golf and leisure divisions, and I’m very proud of the growth we’ve shown in all areas. I would like to thank each and every BGL employee for their hard work and I look forward to seeing what we can achieve in 2020.”

For more information on Burhill Group Ltd visit www.bglcompany.co.uk or follow @BurhillGroupLimited on LinkedIn.

• Close House and Lee Westwood celebrate junior golf with announcement of PING Junior Masters

Close House, home to European Ryder Cup legend Lee Westwood, has announced that the PING Junior Masters will take place at the club this summer during the build-up to the European Tour’s British Masters.

Westwood, Close House and PING all believe very passionately about the importance of introducing young people to the game of golf. In 2019 Close House delivered subsidised coaching in 26 schools within the community as well as hosting a school’s golf festival for over 200 children from 18 different schools.

“Helping to get more kids in the north excited about the game is very important. It’s been brilliant to see this event grow and develop and I can’t wait to meet this year’s participants in July,” commented club ambassador, Lee Westwood.
“It’s a real once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the eventual winner to play a part in the British Masters and tee it up with some of the world’s very best golfers,” he added.

The final will be held on Tuesday 28th July, two days prior to the European Tour event, with each finalist receiving a PING cap as well as VIP access to the Hero Challenge taking place on the Tyne river. The overall winner will also receive entry into the 2020 British Masters pro-am on Wednesday 29th July.

Qualifying stages for the tournament will take place at local clubs across the north of England from April, with each club’s Junior Open serving as a qualifier to the PING Junior Masters - with close to 90 spots available for the final.

John Clark, Managing Director of PING Europe, commented: “Over the last few years the Junior Masters has had an incredibly positive impact on junior golf in the region and the support that Close House and PING ambassador, Lee Westwood, has shown has been crucial in making the event what it is today.”

The first qualifying event will take place in April in Newcastle, with the remainder being played throughout the season at venues in Middlesbrough, Worksop, Ladybank and Bradford before the final at Close House in July.

“We are extremely proud of the work we have done at Close House to establish the PING Junior Masters as an annual event,” added Sir Graham Wylie, owner of Close House.

For more information on the PING Junior Masters and Close House, visit www.closehouse.com/british-masters.

• Hartpury University to fund Masters Degree golf studentships

Hartpury University has launched new studentships to help aspiring elite golfers fulfil their potential on and off the golf course.

The specialist institution is offering to fully fund masters degrees in the areas of Sports Science (Strength and conditioning, nutrition, coaching), Sport Business Management (MRes, MPhil) or an Applied Research Pathway (MRes, MPhil or PhD).

The three students who successfully apply for the two-year part-time courses will also assume roles within Hartpury’s successful college golf programme and therefore have an opportunity to develop core work-based skills.

At the same time, the students will be able to develop their own golf games via a fully funded coaching programme, including sport science support, and a playing itinerary including regular university fixtures, BUCS stroke-play events and tournaments on the new R&A Tour.

The initiative has been developed by Hartpury University’s Golf Academy Manager Matthew Ellis to help aspiring elite golfers further progress their playing opportunities while also consolidating a career pathway.

PGA professional Matthew, a former touring professional, said: “At the age of 16 I was a top junior winning national championships.

I was runner-up in the British Boys and then went on to play international golf for Wales and GB as junior and senior.

“I turned professional and I did okay, but I didn’t ‘make it’. After putting all my eggs in one basket, I then decided to go back to university to re-train, but it was very disruptive and hard to start a new career.”

Matthew, who won the 2005 Glenmuir British Professional Championships in 2005, added: “The competition is fierce in golf but you have to give it a go if that’s what you crave. You need to have a plan B, however, because having a realistic plan B really takes the pressure off plan A.

“It’s not negative to plan for not ‘making it’, it allows you to fully focus on your golf game and if it does not come off you can jump straight into a career you love.”

Students from Hartpury’s Golf Academy have won a number of competitions, including the Junior European Open 2019, the British Schools and Colleges Ladies Open 2019 and a British Universities and Colleges Sport Golf league, as well as team and individual titles at the Intercollegiate Tour (ICT) finals and AoC Sport Championships.

Golf students at Hartpury – one of the UK’s leading specialist education providers – have access to a wide range of facilities on campus, including a 10-bay indoor range, a 5x4m indoor putting green, a USGA short-game area and an outdoor artificial putting green.
As well as tuition from European Tour coach Tom Motley, golf students can also access local courses and professionals on a regular basis.

Their practice sessions are tailored around their academic timetables to help them fulfil their potential in both areas.

Hartpury is officially accredited by the Talented Athlete Scholarship Scheme (TASS) for leading the way in how it supports talented athletes in education in England.

TASS formally recognises an institution’s commitment to supporting student athletes and allowing them to reach their potential in education alongside achieving success in their sport.

As a Dual Career Accredited Site, Hartpury is an important extension of a network of universities partnered with TASS – which is backed by Sport England – delivering core support services to student athletes.

These support services include physiotherapy, nutrition, lifestyle support, psychology, and strength and conditioning.

Applicants for the golf studentships need to passionate competitive golfers with a handicap of 2 and below and a good undergraduate degree.

Further information can be gained by contacting Matthew Ellis at matthew.ellis@hartpury.ac.uk.

• Innovative 9-hole competitions introduced at Bentham

Family run Bentham Golf Course is once again showing its flair for making golf a more appealing and all-embracing pastime with their latest initiative, the Friday Night Knock series, starting late Spring.

Since taking on the picturesque Yorkshire Dales course in 2009, the Marshall family have worked tirelessly to transform what had become a tired club. With the enthusiasm of youth in the form of the energetic Isabel Marshall at the helm, the objective is always to present golf as a fun pastime to be enjoyed in good company, regardless of skill level.

Backed by the support of Thomas and Jane Marshall, already successful in the leisure industry as owners of nearby Riverside Caravan Park, the team have introduced several changes to make the sport more appealing and less intimidating for the uninitiated.

A driving range, glamping pods and luxury lodges, a vibrant clubhouse rebranded as 1922 Bar & Kitchen and open to non-golfers, a FootGolf course, tuition and a well-stocked leisureware shop have all served to attract newcomers.

Isabel explains “Simply subtly changing the name from Bentham Golf Club to Bentham Golf Course has helped to make the place more welcoming and less like a private club. Naturally, we have members who enjoy special benefits, but we are open to all, anytime, and the Friday Night Knock series will be a great opportunity for visitors from near and far to join the locals and members in the spirit of competition in a relaxed environment.”

The 9 hole competitions, open to men and ladies, will feature prizes on the day with further divisional prizes at the end of the series. More details of the Friday Night Knock series, which are also a handicap qualifier, are available on the course website www.benthamgolfcourse.co.uk

• Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa and Golf Club St. Leon-Rot renew with European Tour Destinations

Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa and Golf Club St. Leon-Rot have renewed their membership with European Tour Destinations. Finca Cortesin joined the network in 2017 while Golf Club St Leon-Rot became part of the network in 2012. Both will continue to benefit from the expertise across the venue portfolio and the association with the European Tour.

Set on a 215-hectare estate and surrounded by undisturbed nature, Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa is located in one of the most tranquil and sought-after enclaves of the Andalucían coast, not far from the picturesque village of Casares and less than a mile from the beach.

The award-winning resort, recently voted number one in the Condé Nast Traveler 2019 Readers´ Choice Awards for the Best Hotel in Spain & Portugal, includes four fantastic restaurants, a beach club and an exclusive collection of villas, available for purchase or rental.

Located just 50 minutes from Málaga Airport and 20 minutes from Gibraltar International Airport, Finca Cortesin is globally renowned for providing one of Europe’s most unforgettable golf experiences. Rated by many, including the prestigious Golf Digest magazine, among Spain’s best golf courses, the natural Mediterranean landscape and environment on the resort’s world-class 18-hole Championship course harmonise to create a most attractive design, while the excellent weather enjoyed all year round provides the perfect setting for playing golf.

Finca Cortesin Hotel Golf & Spa hosted the Volvo World Match Play Championship in 2009, 2011 and 2012 with Ross Fisher, Ian Poulter and Nicolas Colsaerts taking home the trophies in each respective year.

Golf Club St Leon-Rot, a stunning 45-hole venue situated near the scenic town of Heidelberg in the heart of Germany, opened in 1997 and has continued to develop its facilities, both on and off the course, since its inception. The venue is prominent in the world of Junior Golf, putting much emphasis on the development of young players, demonstrated by being the host venue of the Junior Solheim Cup, alongside the 2015 Solheim Cup.

Two award-winning Championship courses, St. Leon and Rot, featuring varied characteristics and extraordinary holes, are complemented by a nine-hole Executive course and a five-hole children’s course, as well as the German Golf Federation’s National Training Centre, a purpose-built indoor practice arena. The Allianz Golf Arena, set out on two levels, features 1,700 sqm of practice greens and aprons, and provides ideal conditions for short game training and a strongly undulating green allows for any variation of putting training.

The Deutsche Bank – SAP Open TPC of Europe took place at Golf Club St. Leon-Rot in 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2004 with Tiger Woods victorious in three of the four tournaments (1999, 2001, 2002).

Ian Knox, Head of Operations at European Tour Destinations, said: “It has been a busy start to 2020, with the addition of Golf Son Muntaner in Mallorca to the network, and we are delighted that two of our established venues, Finca Cortesin and Golf Club St. Leon-Rot, are continuing their partnership with us. 

“Both venues have a history of hosting some of the best golfers in the world, so we are extremely gratified that the relationships we build with individual venues, helping them to continue to improve both on and off course, is recognised. It gives us great pleasure that they have chosen to maintain their relationship with the European Tour Destinations network, and we look forward to continuing to support them as they work towards their goals for the years ahead.”

Further information on Finca Cortesin Hotel, Golf & Spa can be found at www.fincacortesin.com or visit www.gc-slr.de for more information on Golf Club St. Leon-Rot.