All change at Oak Park Golf Club

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu October 3, 2017 07:46 Updated

It’s all change at a Surrey club which has a new head chef, new course manager and new general manager – a man who was once the club’s PGA professional and oversaw record numbers of juniors participating

Gavin Grenville-Wood

One of the UK’s most successful golf coaches has returned to Oak Park Golf Club, a secluded and tree-lined 27-hole golf club close to the Surrey / Hampshire border in the village of Crondall, near Farnham to head an all-new management team.

As the new general manager, Gavin Grenville-Wood has pledged to restore the club’s reputation as one of the south’s most popular and welcoming golf clubs.

Along with Oak Park’s new course manager, Anthony Burnell, and the club’s new head chef, Mick Ogden, Grenville-Wood heads a new core management team which is already creating change at the golf club – and it’s all about the personal touch.

“There is a new atmosphere here at Oak Park Golf Club” he said. “You’ll notice it in the way our staff members now interact with people, in the way we take care of the smallest details, and how the club is presented throughout your visit. I think the images on our busy Instagram account are inspirational – they show the vibrant and positive new spirit at the golf club.

“This year, our members are saying that the golf courses at Oak Park are in better condition than at any point in the last 20 years. So the golf is fantastic, the food is fantastic, and we’re making improvements across the board. It’s a great time for people to come back to Oak Park and see all the changes we have been making.”

Grenville-Wood spent five years at Oak Park as academy manager from 2008 to 2013, setting UK records for junior golf participation with as many as 400 children receiving golf lessons there each week. Under Gavin’s influence, the club is now targeting a return to its former status as one of the country’s leading places to learn to play golf.

“When you attract children to a golf club, you also attract their parents, relatives and friends,” he said. “It becomes a family game, and a family environment. Our job here is not only to attract people to our sport, but also to make sure that they remain in it, loving their golf club and the friends they make here.”

Gavin Grenville-Wood left school 28 years ago to become an assistant golf pro, qualified as a PGA Professional in 1997, and has managed golf academies throughout the last 20 years.

In 2002 he started a six-year spell working in the USA, teaching golf at the Palmetto Dunes Resorts in South Carolina, which led to a prestigious role as director of golf at the University of South Carolina.

In 2008 he returned to the UK to take up his position as academy manager at Oak Park Golf Club where he stayed until 2013, when he and a colleague launched a new business providing web and mobile tools for golf coaches and their students – a role which took him back to the USA for a further four-year period before his return to Oak Park this summer.

Huddersfield-born Grenville-Wood graduated from Brunel University with a degree in business studies. He met his wife Lisa on a karaoke night in Philadelphia, and the couple recently celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary. Their two sons, Josh (19) and Ethan (15), are both keen golfers, with eldest son Josh currently learning his trade as a tournament golf professional on the Europro Tour.

One aspect of Grenville-Wood’s return to Oak Park Golf Club has been particularly satisfying.

“My first academy student, back in 2008, was a four year old boy named Robert Wheeler. In July 2017, Bobby became Oak Park’s youngest-ever men’s club champion, aged just 14. We are so proud of him. Now, we have to ensure that youngsters like Bobby remain in the sport throughout their lives, and everything we are now doing at Oak Park Golf Club is geared to creating exactly the right environment for that to happen.”

 

Jenny Yu
By Jenny Yu October 3, 2017 07:46 Updated
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