One year after becoming an Employee Ownership Trust (EOT), Huxley Golf is reporting a strong year of trading, with an increase in sales at golf facilities and domestic settings.
Huxley Golf has been owned by an Employee Ownership Trust since August 2020, following the Huxley family’s decision to provide for the long-term future of the business. It means that employees run the company and benefit from sharing its profits, while the company retains its independence, culture and values built up over decades.
Paul Huxley, Director of Huxley (UK) Ltd and Director of the Trust company, commented: “Employee ownership trusts remain few and far between in the UK. In the golf sector, it’s quite unique. However, the last twelve months have proven that transitioning to this business model has been an incredibly positive step, both for our company and for our customers.
“At the end of our first year as an EOT, we’ve achieved a strong year financially, we’ve retained all of our team members without government support and, I’d go so far as to say that our already high standards have been further enhanced as we have become more agile and efficient.”
Huxley Golf’s success is quite extraordinary in the context of an unparalleled year of challenges for all UK businesses and in particular, the leisure sector, as Director Paul Chester explained.
“Like many businesses over the last year, we have had a number of operational obstacles to overcome: there’s been uncertainty around post-Brexit cross-border trading, complications around compliance with pandemic restrictions, our industry coming to a halt almost overnight, delivery delays and driver shortages to contend with. Despite these significant hurdles, our business has not just survived, it has thrived,” he said.
“I put this down to incredible team spirit. While getting used to our new roles, everyone here has pulled together to help one another find solutions to the various challenges we have been presented with to ensure that Huxley Golf customers continue to get the service they deserve.”
Fellow Director Jo Lyon added: “We have had a 50% increase in enquiries compared to the previous year – my feet have hardly touched the ground! We’ve had a lot of positive feedback from customers about our EOT status too; there’s no doubt that it engenders trust. It gives them confidence in Huxley Golf if they’ve not dealt with us before because they know that all of us here have a vested interest in doing a fantastic job for them.”
The company has attracted new customers in both commercial and domestic settings. Despite temporary closures and a related drop in expenditure, Huxley Golf says that many clubs and courses have taken the opportunity of lower footfall to accelerate planned updates for their facilities and to enhance their offering with new practice tees, short game areas and even nine-hole courses. At the same time, installations of greens for private householders have increased as people are investing more in family fun at home rather than abroad.
Hugh Fraser, Huxley’s Manager for Scotland and North East England, said: “I’ve spoken to a lot of club management who have decided to invest in improvements because our all-weather concepts can deliver immediate benefits to existing members and give them something interesting to attract new members and to make a splash on reopening. The fact many golfers are wanting Huxley Golf’s greens at home too signals that there’s no shortage of people who want to pick up their clubs and practise. Having facilities at home won’t stop them going to their beloved course – it will only fuel their desire to play more.”