After a course closure that had lasted for three years, golf has once again been played at ‘The Astbury’ the popular par 71 design in Shropshire that has enjoyed consistently high ranking from ratings agencies such as Golfshake.com since it was opened in 2010 having been developed by its owner, the former Judas Priest guitarist Ken Downing.
From May Bank Holiday weekend onwards the local golfing community has been able to enjoy premium quality service in a welcoming environment created by recently appointed Head of Golf Tom Storrar and his enthusiastic team.
Despite The Astbury being closed since 2018 the greenkeeping team, led by Sean Jarvis the Course Manager, has treated the course with the care that they would give to their own gardens and kept it in pristine condition.
Astbury Hall is a Georgian designed stately home located close to Chelmarsh in Shropshire. Originally built during the reign of Henry III in the 13th Century, the building was destroyed by fire in 1889, and the present Astbury Hall was rebuilt in 1891 by the mayor of Bridgnorth Edmund Southwell.
The privately-owned investment firm Faro Capital acquired the 300 acre Astbury estate in 2018 because its property team saw the potential to create something special. Jeffrey Wallace, Vice President of Investments at Faro, told Golf Business News, “This estate is set in a beautiful location with amazing landscapes. We have the opportunity to create a leading leisure and holiday destination centred around a fine ‘stately home’ and one of Britain’s most well-regarded golf courses.”
Asked what had attracted him to join the Astbury team, Tom Storrar said, “Having worked at some fantastic clubs and facilities over the last ten years, seeing the vision for The Astbury was a real breath of fresh air. Being able to be involved in the initial set up of the Club is really a unique experience that I didn’t want to pass up.
“From Day One our conversations have been about creating a unique experience for members and visitors alike where the club is fun, informal and welcoming, set in a modern contemporary facility. These are all things that I would want from a golf club and will therefore enjoy the process of implementing them at The Astbury.”
With COVID restrictions in place food and beverage service has been successfully and memorably provided in ‘The Potting Shed’ (pictured). The next phase will see terrace dining overlooking the lake and 18th hole and shortly afterwards the new indoor bar and restaurant will open.
Asked about his future plans for The Astbury members Tom Storrar says, “We want to create a really fun environment for all our members to enjoy. We are just finalising our affiliation to Shropshire & Herefordshire County Union as well as England Golf so we can run a full members schedule of competitions under the new WHS framework. From that point on we want to be the place that our members come to relax and enjoy themselves and take in the stunning surroundings.”
“We want to be at the heart of the local community. We’re pleased to be working with Bridgnorth and Salopian suppliers to bring locally made food and drinks to our customers and guests,” he concluded.
Daniel Hodson of Hodson Consultants has been working with Faro Capital since October 2019. “We believe that through a beautifully delivered golf experience blended with the fabulous town and surrounding areas of Bridgnorth, returning to The Astbury will supercharge the interest in the entire luxury development,” he said. “The plan is to build 302 holiday lodges and development of the first phase of 52 begins in May/June. Holiday lodges are now available for sale off-plan.”
Jeff Wallace summed up. “There is a market of 2.25 million people living within a one hour drive of The Astbury and 11.4 million live within two hours. We will always provide premium quality service and create an environment where everyone feels welcome. In addition to expanding our golf offering, possibly to include a short course and ‘adventure golf’, we are also planning to add nature walks, cycling tracks, multi-use games areas, tennis courts, a fitness centre and, eventually, a swimming pool. As we enter 2022, we will also have the facilities to run big events like corporate days and weddings. We will start taking enquires and bookings soon.”
The Astbury Golf & Lodge Resort