Roundup of golf industry appointments in the last week

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 6, 2021 07:19

There have been an unusually high number of new appointments in golf clubs and the golf industry in general in the last few days, here are some of the most high profile of them:

The chairman

Ashton Bradbury

Former fund manager Ashton Bradbury has taken over as the new chairman of Wales Golf.

A specialist investor in small and medium sized businesses, working for various asset management companies over a 25 year career, Bradbury takes over from Dr Val Franklin.

With Wales Golf chief executive Richard Dixon planning to step down in the summer, Bradbury and the new CEO, when appointed, will need to plan a strategy to move forward in changed times.

“The role of chairman is to work with the chief executive and the board making sure our strategy is fit for purpose, focussing on our clubs, their members and also our partners such as the R&A and Sport Wales, for the good of the game in Wales,” he said.

“We are a sounding board and source of constructive challenge for the chief executive setting that strategy and making sure of the delivery.

“Fortunately we have a really strong relationship with the Welsh clubs which is critical to everything we do.

“In the last year almost every club in Wales has had an involvement with Wales Golf getting help and advice in a difficult period. Hopefully, with golf now resuming we can move forward together.

“Sometimes people question what Wales Golf does, but the last year has demonstrated it is there to support its clubs, it provides a tremendous range of services to clubs which continue to build over time.

“When things got difficult, Wales Golf was there to provide help in the most extreme of circumstances.

“We took the decision early on not to furlough any club-facing staff in order to help the clubs through the last year.

“That was the right decision and will have strengthened the relationships, but now it is up to us to build on that, working with the clubs to take the game forward.

“Everything we want to do for the game can only be done through our clubs, they are our partners and we need to help them to present the game in the best light.”

Bradbury is a former member of Cottrell Park in the Vale of Glamorgan and has two daughters, Gemma and Katie, who both played for the girls and ladies Wales teams for several years – including representing Wales at world championship level.

He enjoyed a successful career in the world of finance, before retiring in 2014. He is a fully qualified golf referee who was chairman of the Wales Golf Championships Committee from 2015-2019.

The captain

Bernard Gallacher

Bernard Gallacher has begun his year as PGA captain and in doing so has become just the eighth person to lead the association and a home Ryder Cup team.

Gallacher captained Europe in 1991, 1993 and 1995 and joins a distinguished list comprising PGA co-founder J H Taylor, Ted Ray, George Duncan, Sir Henry Cotton, Eric Brown, Bernard Hunt and Dai Rees.

Gallacher said: “It’s a great honour to be made captain and follow in such illustrious footsteps.”

The 72-year-old Scot, who won 22 professional tournaments and played in eight Ryder Cup matches, has become the association’s 80th captain.

PGA chief executive Robert Maxfield said: “We are delighted to welcome Bernard in joining the special band of PGA professionals who have the honour of becoming the association’s captain.

“Bernard is one of the game’s most respected and well-known figures and he will be a superb ambassador for us during his year in office.

“In welcoming Bernard we would like to thank Peter Hanna, his predecessor, for his sterling work in the role. Based in Northern Ireland, Peter has been a familiar presence at almost all our national tournaments wherever their location, not least the 2019 PGA Cup in Texas. It’s a great shame his spell as captain has been disrupted by the pandemic.”

The touring professional

Lee Westwood

Reigning Race to Dubai champion Lee Westwood, who has recently returned to the top-20 in the world golf rankings, has extended his relationship with Close House as its ‘Official Touring Professional’.

A 25-time European Tour winner, Westwood opened Close House’s Colt Course in 2011 and has been a pivotal member of the club throughout its ten-year existence.

“We are honoured to have Lee representing Close House on the global stage,” commented Sir Graham Wylie, owner of Close House. “It makes everyone at the club extremely proud when we see the Close House name on the side of his hat, and it is testament to everything we have achieved together that Lee has extended his stay as our Touring Professional.”

Westwood has been pivotal in the development of the club and its courses, having hosted the British Masters at Close House in both 2017 and 2020, bringing the European Tour to the north-east of England for the first time since 2005.

Close House has become a home-from-home for the former World Number One, having contributed to the re-designing of some of Close House’s most famous holes, and he is a regular visitor at the club when not playing on tour.

“I am delighted and honoured to announce that my association with Close House has been extended,” said Westwood.

“I visit the club on most days during my time off, and I am privileged to have been able to showcase Close House to the wider world when I hosted the British Masters here on two occasions.”

The director of golf and senior PGA professional

David Green

Paultons Golf Centre in Hampshire has announced the appointment of two new PGA professionals.

David Green assumes the role of director of golf and Rob Edwards becomes the club’s new senior PGA professional. Green was previously director of golf at Farnham Park, Croham Hurst and, most recently, head professional at Wildernesse Club.

“Firstly, I am delighted that we have been able to appoint two professionals of such a high calibre,” commented the club’s general manager, Joanne Tomey.

“David’s enthusiasm to bring golf to all and to make golf more welcoming and accessible, will undoubtedly benefit everyone that comes to play at Paultons GC. This, along with his service driven attitude, as well as support from Rob and our other PGA professionals, will help us make yet more positive improvements to our all-round customer experience.”

“I’m thrilled to be joining such an up-and-coming club, which puts the enjoyment of both its members and loyal visitors at the heart of its operation,” said Green. “I am looking forward to working closely with the team to build on the successes that have already been achieved since the current owners acquired the club in the summer of 2019.”

Rob Edwards

Rob Edwards has been a PGA professional for over 30 years and is a former European Tour member.

The general manager

Neal Holloway

Neal Holloway is relishing the chance to embrace a new challenge after being appointed as the new general manager at Belton Woods golf resort.

Belton Woods – which is part of The QHotels Group – features 36 holes of golf, including the Championship Lakes course, and the experienced hotelier has earmarked making a series of improvements to enhance the venue’s status as one of the top golfing venues in the Midlands.

Holloway has a wealth of experience of the UK hotel industry having worked in a number of key roles for some of the biggest brands over the last two decades.

The 50-year-old spent the last six-and-a-half years as general manager at the Radisson Blu Hotel Stansted, one of the busiest hotels in the country, and is excited at the prospect of making an impact in a new part of the hospitality sector.

“I’ve worked in a number of different roles over the last 20 years but taking charge of a golf resort is something that’s completely new to me and I’m really looking forward to it,” said Holloway, who played off a handicap of 12 earlier in his career when he was a chef.

“I have various ideas on ways that we can enhance the customer experience for our guests and members which I’m going to be sharing over the coming months, and as someone who loves playing golf, I’m particularly excited about our future plans for the golf course.

“The number of people playing golf in the UK has risen dramatically in the last 12 months since we first went into lockdown. With so many health benefits attached to playing the game, that figure is only going to grow and it’s imperative that we give all our players the best possible experience we can.”

The operations manager and golf professional

Barry McCauley (left) and Damian Mooney

Lough Erne Resort has assembled a brand new team to drive its golf offering.

The resort has appointed Damian Mooney, three-time Ulster PGA winner, as its new golf professional and promoted Fermanagh native, Barry McCauley, to golf operations manager.

Big-hitting Damian, who has played on the European Tour, said: “I am very enthusiastic about this new opportunity with Lough Erne Resort. They have premium golf facilities and some exciting development plans for the future. We hope to encourage golfers of all abilities to visit the resort and we will be making an extra effort to introduce more juniors from the surrounding areas to the wonderful game of golf.”

Barry McCauley, with credible operational experience from various roles within the resort, now heads up the golf operations. This strategy focused role includes the management of the resorts retail outlets, practice facilities at The Golf Academy, golf course green fees and time sheets, organisation of corporate golf events and golf societies, golf competitions, not to mention networking and meetings with golf tour operators who bring international golfers to the resort.


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir April 6, 2021 07:19
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