News Roundup

Keele Golf Centre

• Huge investment from Snainton Golf brings state-of-the-art technology and retail experience to site 22 in the portfolio

Independent golf retail experts, Snainton Golf, have made Keele Driving Range site number 22 in their expanding portfolio.  Business partners, PGA Professionals John Hinchliffe and Peter Ritchie are bringing their extensive retail expertise and an investment of over £350,000 to create a best in class golf and leisure experience at the newly named Keele Golf Centre. 

The opening, on Friday 15th November was attended by the Mayor of Newcastle Councillor Simon White who took the opportunity to try golf for the first time on the state of the art system.  20 of the bays at the already popular driving range will be ‘powered by Toptracer Range’, giving local golfers their first chance to experience the same ball-tracking technology that traces the shots of the world’s best players on TV. 

As well as the addition of Toptracer Range, the golf centre will have a totally refurbished shop stocked with the major golf brands.  There will also be a new small café area, making the Keele Golf Centre the most advanced golf practice and fitting facility in the area and a great community hub.  The facility will be employing a team of 4 PGA Professionals who will be on hand to offer lessons and expert advice to customers at the venue as well as delivering a first-class custom fit experience.

Co-owner Peter Ritchie, who is overseeing the refurbishment of the golf centre, is looking forward to welcoming new and current customers to the venue when it relaunches in Novembe. “The range at Keele has been an important part of the golf community for the last 25 years, so we are delighted to be able to build on its success.  We are confident that by bringing Top Tracer Range to the Keele we will be giving golfers and non-golfers alike a fantastic a new experience.  The interest in the redevelopment has been incredible!”

Keele Golf Centre opened its doors to the public on Friday 15th November and a fun filled day of activities designed to showcase the incredible facilities on offer was had by all.  There was free access to the bays between 6-9pm on opening night plus a series of free competitions including spot prizes for anyone who finds one of the special golden balls.

For more details on Keele Golf Centre and the launch, follow @keelegolfcentre on all social media platforms.

Davide Croxton

•  After nearly 41 years as proprietor of Cold Ashby Golf Club, David Croxton is soon to move into a well-earned retirement.

The golf course lease has been taken over by the current members with effect from 1st November and will continue with a new cooperative structure.

“I am delighted that the club and its current ethos is to continue, and hope that the members and visitors will continue to enjoy Cold Ashby’s friendly and relaxed environment,” said David.  “My retirement is probably overdue and I wonder if any other current golf club proprietor can claim over 40 continuous years at the helm of a golf club.  As with most businesses, there have been good times and not so good, but I have to say that it has given me an enjoyable and rewarding lifestyle, an abundance of happy memories and the chance to meet so many delightful people.”

In the early years of Croxton’s tenure, Cold Ashby was renowned as a friendly, accessible golf club. It began life as a modest 18-hole facility with a limited clubhouse and expanded over time to 27-holes, plus a driving range. The clubhouse was extensively developed to include function space and room for weddings whilst - always at the forefront of innovation - Cold Ashby also diversified its business, offering skiing in the winter months and latterly being an early adopter of both Footgolf and Discgolf.

For decades Cold Ashby was well known for hosting the Cold Ashby Classic (later the Tour Championship), a key event on the PGA’s Midland circuit.

As well as running Cold Ashby, David was Northamptonshire Golf Union President in 1998-2000 and he also spent 6 years on the board of England Golf. For the past 16 years he has been in partnership with his son, Greg, but they have jointly decided to put the business into new ownership.
Cold Ashby Golf Club• BGL bucks the trend with strong rounds played Q3 figures

Burhill Golf and Leisure (BGL) has reported a substantial growth in rounds played for the months of July, August and September.

In contrast, Sports Marketing Surveys Inc published its ‘Rounds Played’ figures for the third quarter of 2019, highlighting a fall in total rounds played nationally as compared with the same period in 2018.

In a stark comparison, BGL saw a positive variance as compared with the group’s own 2018 figures, for each individual month, adding up to a cumulative 7.2% growth in all rounds played at its 10 UK golf venues.

This comes off the back of a sustained period of growth for the group which, in August, announced an increase of 25% across all membership categories at its venues since 2015.

In 2019, BGL has continued to surge forward, outpacing the market, which has bounced back from 2018 with national growth of 4.2% in rounds played, achieving a remarkable 10.4% increase to 468,043 total rounds through three quarters of the year.

The group’s desire to repeatedly re-invest in its golf venues, from building new facilities to funding water sustainability measures, has paid off, providing a first-rate on-course experience to members and visitors alike.

BGL’s commitment to developing the game on a local level and bringing new golfers to the sport, especially with regards to women and juniors, is reflected in the 14% growth in rounds played on the group’s short courses year-on-year.

“I am thrilled with the results which show the hard work and effort that goes into running a successful business from the management level through to everyone at our individual clubs,” commented BGL CEO, Colin Mayes.
“We have made it a point of emphasis to continually look to enhance our on-course experience and the figures demonstrate the strong position the group has taken in what have been challenging times for all golf course operators.”

For more information on Burhill Golf and Leisure Ltd visit or follow @BGLGolf on LinkedIn.

• Future talent in full swing at Lookers sponsored Junior Masters

It was time for young talent to shine at the Lookers sponsored Junior Masters, with Aaron Mohun of Delamere Forest, Cheshire, lifting the trophy at this year’s tournament at Close House in Newcastle.

The win saw the 12-year-old year old secure a place in the prestigious British Masters Pro-Am in July 2020 at Close House, where he will get to share the fairways with the likes of Rory McIlroy, Lee Westwood, Danny Willet and Sergio Garcia in a full tour event.
The Junior Masters was the culmination of 7 Northern qualifying rounds, starting at Lancaster Golf Club in April and finishing at Bradford Golf Club in August.

While the temperature was a little cold, playing conditions were excellent overall for the 74 youngsters competing on the Lee Westwood Colt Course.
Aaron, competing in the U12 boys’ category, took home the trophy by posting the highest net score of 68, while Sam MacDonald (Crossland Health) and Matthew Dale ((Middlesbrough GC) made up the winners of the Under 15s competition.

Elsewhere, winners of girls’ competition were Sofia McGhie (Lancaster Golf Club) in the Under 12s competition, Izabella Knowles (Thirsk and Northallerton Golf Club) in the under 15s and Harriet Barker from Carus Green Golf Club in the under 18s.
It is the third year in a row that the motor retailer has sponsored the finals of the tournament alongside golfing brand Ping.

As part of the event, Lookers once again supported a programme involving more than 20 local schools, with Close House PGA professionals delivering coaching in schools and hosting festivals on the estate.

Close House managing director Jonathan Lupton said: “Congratulations to all our winners this year. Our aim at Close House is to nurture golfers from beginners through to the highest level and thanks to our sponsors Lookers and PING, the Junior Masters has become a key part in that progression for juniors of all ages.”

Heike O’Leary, Lookers Group marketing  director, said: “It is fantastic to see the PGA supporting grassroots golf by offering places at the British Masters Pro-Am, one of the most important golf events in the UK. Lookers has a history of supporting future talent and we look forward to seeing how far Aaron and the rest of the Junior Masters winners can go. Who knows, we may be witnessing the next generation of tour golfers.”