Golf has always been a passion of mine and I studied Golf Studies at Myerscough College in Preston and followed that up by completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Golf Management at the University of Central Lancashire, where I also represented the University Elite Golf Team.
I turned professional in 2009 and spent two years based at Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club in Cumbria as assistant professional before spending a further year coaching at Dibden Golf Centre in the New Forest, Southampton.
Joined the team at Willow Valley Golf near Huddersfield/Halifax in May 2012 as Retail Manager and PGA Teaching Professional having completed my PGA training in partnership with the University of Birmingham. My six years there saw me progress to golf operations and membership manager and helped me gain valuable experience to land the role of Club Manager at Windermere in December 2017, when I moved back to Cumbria.
My first job was to implement a new governance of the golf club under a club management structure which involved recruiting a new team and refurbishing/relocating the new golf shop and office. Since the move, I’ve had a great first twenty months at the helm and have enjoyed every minute. I’m lucky to be involved with running such a beautiful golf course in a stunning location. The balance of looking after our near 500 strong membership and thousands of visitors each year is exactly what I was looking for when I made the move back to Cumbria.
Born and raised in Grange Over Sands, Cumbria, I’m 34 years old, married with 2 children (1 & 4). My passions obviously involve golf and walking/hiking as well as spending time with my young family.
The Fishwick Story -
I started playing golf in 1997 - aged 12 - and was introduced to the game by my dad, who played the game. My parents bought my older sister a set of golf clubs in the hope that she would start playing but I picked the clubs up and remember having a go in our garden. Shortly after, my dad invited me to go along to the golf course with him after seeing how much I was enjoying it; I’ll always remember the first time on the golf course and how loved being out with my dad.
It was this bond that made me continue to play and want to improve. After finishing school, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I figured that I should try and do something that I enjoy, so I decided to pursue the main thing that I enjoyed – golf.
I went to study golf at Myerscough College, studying and playing golf with likeminded people only helped to encourage my passion and drive for a career in golf and my game quickly improved due to all the time I spent practising. There was a golf course and practice facilities outside our halls of residence that we spent hours playing/practising on! My handicap soon plummeted, and I was able to turn professional and get my first job in golf as Assistant Professional at Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club after finishing my degree.
You wake up in the morning - what’s the driving passion?
I’m very much a morning person, my passion each day involves trying to be better - at everything - than the last day.
What makes coming to Linthwaite House a special moment for guests?
From the moment you arrive you know you are at a special place. The stunning views outside, the beautiful gardens, the fantastic décor inside and the warm welcome from the team; everything is top quality.
When and how did the relationship between Linthwaite House and Windermere GC develop?
At the end of 2018, Linthwaite House reached out and invited me to discuss a potential sponsorship. It just so happened that we too were on the lookout for high quality accommodation providers nearby for our golfers. After visiting the boutique luxury property, we knew straight away that we could combine our fantastic services to benefit our guests.
How has the 2019 golf season been going when held against 2018? Especially in regards to outside visitors.
2019 has been exceptional so far. The golf course has been in stunning condition all year and the weather has been kind to us. 2018 in itself was a record-breaking year with regards to the visitor numbers, but 2019 is already breaking those records.
Golf clubs often tout the importance of customer service. Define the term and the approach you follow.
Customer service is all looking after people by communicating well and exceeding expectations, however high they might be. We make all our guests feel welcome as soon as they step foot through the door and like to approach things with a “nothing is too much trouble, we’re happy to help” ethos.
Ireland and Scotland make major efforts in attracting international visitors - is England doing enough in this regard?
By being in the Lake District National Park, we’re very lucky to be in one of the most picturesque places in the world. The region does a great deal to attract international visitors and has a lot to offer; the golf club benefits hugely from this. As far as England is concerned in general, I think more could probably done: we have a great country and should let people know about it. How many “Visit England” campaigns have you seen?
You can change one thing in golf unilaterally - what would it be and why?
I’d like to see more golf courses have relaxed rules regarding dress codes. I know some golf courses that won’t let you play if you have the wrong coloured socks on, or won’t let you in the clubhouse if you have jeans on. I’m not talking about a full on “wear anything” policy, but let’s just be sensible about this.
The major golf organisations, R&A, USGA, PGA of America, PGA Tour, European Tour, LPGA - are all seeking ways to attract new players to the game especially with Millennials, women and minorities. If you were counseling them what would you advice be done?
Break down any barriers that may be in the way and try to make the game as accessible as possible.
The biggest challenges - short and long term facing Windermere GC is what?
Our main short term challenge is preparing and maintaining the course for the winter months. Golfers like to play 12 months of the year these days, and expect the course to be as good in December as it is in July.
The biggest long term challenge we have is maintaining such a pristine golf course all year round. With the world rightly becoming more eco-friendly; there are more and more chemical restrictions for the greenkeepers to adhere to. Many chemicals used to help growth, fend off and treat disease on the greens are being outlawed; more natural solutions to maintaining a quality golf course will be required.
Best advice you ever received - what was it and who from?
“If you fail to prepare, you prepare to fail.” I’ll always remember the poster placed outside Science class at school!
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For Windermere GC, go to www.windermeregolfclub.co.uk