A double dose of flooding has failed to deter `Friendly Flixton` Golf Club from surging forward on to a higher level of provision indoors and out.
No sooner had the nearby River Mersey breached an eight-foot flood barrier to turn the course into “a lake”, recalls Secretary Paul Thornley, than a leaky tap in the men’s bathroom left their changing area awash.
One of Britain’s longest 9-hole courses is now back in action, with playability boosted by enriching river silt left behind. The news indoors is heartening too, after Flixton appointed changing room specialists Crown Sports Lockers to transform the old facility.
So pleased is the club with its new fitout that it’s continuing Crown’s décor theme in other areas of the clubhouse.
This busy “affordable quality golfing venue” features a 6,500-yd parkland course that’s challenged all levels since 1893 under a continuing programme of improvement by the private member Greater Manchester club, which includes a recent £150,000 investment.
A member for 33 years, Paul captained the club in 2010, before becoming president in 2019 then assuming his current post. “I’m following in my father’s footsteps,” he says, “only the second time it’s happened here.”
Recalling the flood indoors, he continues: “The oak lockers soaked up the water like a sponge, leaving them in danger of warping. We approached our insurance company, who agreed to meet costs of new facilities.”
Flixton’s vision to create a new wave of men’s provision included showers, toilets, bathroom, lighting, lockers and carpeting, with chair of house Dave Kelly sourcing Crown.
“Crown seemed more savvy and efficient to us,” Paul says. “I remember Sam Palmer visiting us in what were horrendous, snowy conditions. We liked him from the start and his design and layout knowledge was extensive.
“I asked him where he was staying locally and he said he had to visit a site in Yorkshire that afternoon, before returning to Devon. I’ve travelled to the South-west many times so know how long it can take. To complete the round-trip in a day revealed real commitment to his work.”
In a project featuring twin-tier light panelled oak veneer golf bag lockers (ASSA Abloy cam locks) with coin-operated holdall storage for visiting golfers, Crown fitted out the room early in 2021, during Covid restrictions, complete with recessed bench seating, open wardrobe hanging spaces and single-station vanity shelf.
Flixton turned in-house to lay light grey, flecked carpeting and upholster the single stack locker tops, matching the walls and cleanly offset with crisp white LED ceiling lights, installed by Paul, a qualified electrician.
“Everything went in during Covid lockdown,” Paul adds, “so members could hardly believe their eyes when they returned. They’re absolutely delighted with the new facility.”
The club has picked up the design trend Crown set, Paul explains. “A member is a joiner and once he saw the new changing room, he fitted a vanity unit in the new bathroom from offcuts, plus mirrors and an oak-panelled foyer to the changing room.”