Historic Kent golf club, Littlestone, a partner in Golf in Kent (www.golfinkent.co.uk), has appointed renowned golf coach and PGA Professional, James Cunliffe, as its new Director of Golf.
Describing his new role as “a PGA Professional’s dream job”, James brings with him a wealth of experience in coaching and retail.
Most recently he worked at the golf academy at Q Hotels Dunston Hall in the heart of Norwich where he spent the last year developing golf operations whilst increasing the levels of coaching activity with members and guests alike. Despite enjoying his time at Dunston Hall, he felt he could not miss the opportunity of applying for the role at Littlestone.
“Littlestone is unique to say the least. Not only is the Championship Links course nothing short of magnificent, but the Club (which is celebrating 130 years this year) has embraced changed without losing its identity,” said James on his recent appointment.
“The membership and visitor numbers have increased substantially over the past three years and yet still the majority of golf played is two-ball. It is without doubt a traditional members’ club but the welcome the members give their visitors is fantastic. They are constantly thinking about the club’s future rather than dwelling on the past. Foolishly I thought that joining the team in January, the club would be fairly quiet, and I could get to grips with the role but my feet haven’t touched the ground since I joined as golfers from all over Kent and further afield flock to Littlestone. It is still so dry and the condition is incredibly good for January.”
Prior to Dunston Hall, Cunliffe was a part of the UK’s largest golf school at Sedlescombe Golf Club in East Sussex. The golf school there specialized in group and intensive coaching and James embraced the concepts and intends to develop these at the Littlestone Links Academy, which will be launched in the next few weeks. In addition, he is an expert clubmaker and fitter, having made clubs for tour players, and loves the science of getting the right club into the hands of the right player.
“I am profoundly interested in understanding just how and why things work, the physiology of the human body and how it moves and the way a club performs with each individual is fascinating. I am a scientist at heart but I understand that not everybody wants to know about every minute detail. My ideology in golf, and I suppose in life, is keep it simple and work hard.”
One of James’ first major roles is to oversee the construction of a brand new pro shop at Littlestone. Planning has been approved and the facility should be open in early summer.
Littlestone is a member of Golf in Kent, a partnership that comprises some of the county’s premier golf courses and hotel providers and Visit Kent, which promotes Kent as a golfer’s paradise in the Garden of England, thanks to the quality of the county’s courses, accommodation and off-course attractions.
For more about Kent’s finest golf courses and accommodation, go to www.golfinkent.co.uk
Littlestone Golf Club www.littlesonegolfclub.org.uk