A new golfing reputation is being built on the edge of the Cotswolds, with the 282-room Heythrop Park Resort near Chipping Norton in Oxfordshire making a major statement of intent by boosting its Course Management team for 2015.
Steve Cherry, a 25-year career greenkeeping professional who prepared 17 European Tour events under Alex Hay at Woburn, heads the new team as Estate Manager at the prestigious golf resort which features the 7,088 yard Bainbridge Course, rated by many as the best in Oxfordshire.
Experienced 34-year old Brett Smith arrived at Heythrop Park in the final weeks of 2014 as Deputy Estate Manager after spending 14 years at Windmill Village GC in Coventry.
With the addition of two new Assistant Greenkeepers, Tom Coleman and James Rodley, plus recent recruit Ivor Hopkins, Heythrop Park Resort has added five new estate and course management staff since spring 2014. It now has a 10-strong Estate Management team headed by Cherry and Smith, and the new team in charge are bullish about where the resort is headed.
“Heythrop Park can surely now be classified as one of the UK’s highest-quality “Stay and Play” venues” said Cherry. “Our greens are superb now, but by May of this year we’ll be in a position to invite golfers to judge us against anything in the South of England.”
The Tom Mackenzie-designed golf course at Heythrop Park Resort, which winds through the spectacular scenery of the resort’s 440-acre estate, opened in 2009. Named after Thomas Bainbridge, the renowned planner who originally landscaped Heythrop Park in 1706, the well-drained course has several stand-out signature holes and highly undulating greens.
“With a clear fine turf focus we have already brought the estate up several levels in condition in the latter part of 2014” said Cherry, a 2-handicap golfer who once competed in the English Amateur Championship. “Renovation projects have been extensive including tee work and bunkering, and of course our predominately fescue greens have received a great deal of attention. Undeniably, they are now superb putting surfaces.”
Midlander Smith, who rides mountain bikes and supports Wolverhampton Wanderers in his spare time, is impressed with his new workplace. “This is a true championship golf course” he said. “I have great pride in where I now work. Steve and I will not settle for second best – we are going to take Heythrop Park to where it deserves to be, which is among the highest-rated golf courses in the South of England.”
Steve Cherry shares his deputy’s confidence. “We now have a passionate, hungry course management team here at Heythrop Park Resort. We have an amazing layout, and I can promise all golfers that they will not be disappointed when they visit us during the golf season.”
Tim Good, Director of Golf at Heythrop Park Resort, added: “I am delighted that we now have a full team on board. They have the experience to raise Heythrop up to the next level. Steve & Brett are already producing great results on the golf course, and we are receiving positive feedback on a daily basis.
“The word is out: many are saying that Heythrop Park now has the best greens in Oxfordshire at this time of year.”
Heythrop Park Resort www.heythroppark.co.uk