It may only be 9 holes and reputedly one of the shortest courses in the South East of England, but it’s no push-over and definitely a course that any golfer should experience! Strawberry Hill Golf Club is a small club that has packed a big punch since 1900 when, under the guidance of J H Taylor, a leading professional in his day and first president of the PGA, designed a course that has stood the test of time to now become part of the London 2012 Olympic legacy. Indeed, its potential role in the community has never been greater, thanks to new practice facilities provided by Huxley Golf.
Following a successful application for a grant from Sport England’s ‘Inspired Facilities Fund’, this historic and important community Club is now able to offer tournament quality all-weather practice facilities by way of a Huxley Golf 72ft x12ft (22m x 3.6m) practice tee and two caged nets with mats. These first class Huxley practice aids are usually found at some of the most prestigious clubs in the world including Ryder Cup and Open Championship venues, where they help to ensure that poor weather or ground conditions don’t hamper opportunities for participation and improvement. At Strawberry Hill, they will undoubtedly have wide appeal amongst both new and loyal users who appreciate the Club’s friendliness and inclusiveness. As well as those ‘in the know’, the tricky course appeals to those taking up the game – men, women and juniors – those for whom a members-only 18 hole course can be quite off-putting.
The Right Honourable Dr Vincent Cable MP, Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and Member of Parliament for Twickenham, formally opened Strawberry Hill Golf Club’s new practice facilities. It was a proud moment for all concerned in helping to bring the project to fruition.
Chairman of Golf at Strawberry Hill, Donald Kerr, who was also instrumental in achieving the necessary funding, said: “We are immensely proud of our new practice facilities which will help ensure that we realise our vision of providing a real community service and encouraging greater participation in the sport. The Club maintains a special focus on nurturing beginners and improvers and integrating them into its active and varied golf and social programmes so top-notch practice facilities are a must if we are to reach out to new budding golfers.”
He continued: “The existing practice area was a rough patch of ground with 100 yards between the old mats and the green and there were no practice nets at all. We contacted Huxley Golf and were impressed that Barry Huxley came to the club personally, not only to give us invaluable advice as to how we might upgrade our limited practice area, but he helped us choose the design and location of the facilities. Again, we were impressed at the personal attention we received during the installation process where we were treated with the utmost respect and attention to detail.”
“Today, our new practice area looks stunning and it’s being used exhaustively. Our Club Professional, Peter Buchan, is delighted with the practice teeing area and has never been busier. The Club is attracting even more beginners but we have no concerns about wear and tear on the practice area which will undoubtedly only enhance our prospects of encouraging them to become members.”
Barry Huxley, Director of Huxley Golf commented: “Our installation of practice tee and cages will not only benefit members, visitors and those starting out on their golfing journey, but it will also generate immediate and long-term savings in ground maintenance; important for a not-for-profit organisation like Strawberry Hill. I hope that our work on this project will enable the Club to increase its appeal throughout the communities it serves.”
Sport England’s award is part of the ‘Places People Play’ legacy programme which is delivered in partnership with the British Olympic Association and the British Paralympic Association; the aim being to bring the inspiration of the Olympic Games to every community. As a result, Strawberry Hill Golf Club has received the ‘Inspire’ mark celebrating its link to London 2012. It has also enabled the Club to be selected as a regional centre for England Golf’s ‘Get into Golf’ programme which will help to reinforce various existing initiatives and forge stronger links with schools and businesses in the area.
Huxley Golf provides premier all-weather surfaces for golf around the world. Clients include training and coaching establishments, golf resorts, ranges and academies as well as many well-known golf courses.
Huxley Golf Premier All-Weather Golf Surfaces www.huxleygolf.com