One of the UK’s leading golf resorts has enhanced its reputation as being at the forefront of the sport by backing a new North East business which is set to revolutionise the golf retail market.
Close House – home of the world’s only Lee Westwood golf courses – has become the first major venue to install a Break90 express retail pod, an automated machine which offers golfers a new and exciting means of buying merchandise, while enabling clubs to make cost savings while offering a much wider range of stock than in their traditional pro shops. Players can purchase everything from golf kit to green fees.
The retail pod, created by Northumberland-based Break 90, is accessible at all hours of the day and through the installation of the pod, golf staff at Close House are able to concentrate on providing tuition and service to members.
Graham Wylie, owner of Close House, recently announced significant investment would be made in the venue’s golf operation, after closing the hotel for conversion into a residential house. Among the first stage of plans is the full refurbishment of the clubhouse, which is set to begin this month.
Fast-growing Break90, which was established in July, has already created the 20 jobs it initially predicted, with more on the way. It is in talks with over 45 clubs around the UK at present, with a view to national roll-out within the next three years.
The innovative business is based in Stocksfield, only a few miles away from Close House, and was founded by entrepreneur Fiona Lutz and business partner Rob Mullen – whose previous creations include the internationally-acclaimed Sweetspot range of golf snacks.
Directors include Chris Holmes, chairman of Carrs Milling – one of the UK’s leading companies – and former Carrs financial director Ron Wood. Both have invested in Break90 after being impressed with its potential.
Break90’s products are carefully selected and researched innovative brands. As well as the merchandise, the retail pods offer screens for product manufacturers’ adverts and can also include Costa Coffee terminals.
John Glendinning, Managing Director of Close House Golf, said: “Close House is committed to offering the highest standards so that our venue and levels of service are the best they can be. As a venue with an international reputation, we are keen to lead the way with new innovations.
“Through the installation of the Break90 pod, we can offer a new experience to our golfers, along with new levels of convenience for them. We can stock a much wider range of products than ever before, which can be changed seasonally. Our golf professionals will also be able to assign more time to doing what they do best – playing and teaching golf.
“As well as backing a local business, we firmly believe Break90 offers a credible alternative to the traditional means of golf retail and we are very pleased to be the first to install the XPS pod shop.”
Rob Mullen, director of Break90, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that a premium golf resort like Close House has become the first major venue to use the Break90 pod shop. Break90 is about offering a new and exciting retail experience for golfers, to provide an alternative to buying on the internet or from the big-name low-price high street retailers. It is fantastic that Close House has really bought into our vision.
“The reaction to Break90 has been absolutely phenomenal, and things are going at such a pace we have created the 20 jobs planned for our first year in only six months. We are in negotiations with clubs across the UK at present, and remain confident that we will be operating across the whole country within three years.”
Break90 has been supported legally by Newcastle law firm Sintons. Partner Adrian Dye, who has acted for Rob Mullen for a number of years, said: “As a keen golfer myself, I can fully understand why Break90 looks set to be hugely popular with golf players and clubs alike. Rob and Fiona have addressed the main challenges in golf retail and devised an innovative solution which is now being endorsed by clubs of the calibre of Close House.”
Close House Golf www.closehouse.com