Last summer the doors of Sapey Golf Club were due to close for good when, with only days to go, Wyldecrest Golf & Leisure bought the Club as a going concern.
Seven months on and the newly named Sapey Golf & Country Club is thriving following an initial programme of investment which has seen drainage works on the course, new IT and security systems and repairs to the course's signature hole water features. But that's not all, many of the original members have re-joined and innovative membership offers have attracted many young players to join a golf club for the very first time, swelling membership numbers by over 100 in little under 7 months.
"We feel that it's so important to make sure that the veil of elitism in golf is lifted and memberships are available to all who wish to play" says Sales and Marketing Manager, Cheryl Waring.
"We have created a membership level for occasional golfers as well as offering Junior membership absolutely free of charge. To secure our future we have to keep recruiting young members and we are delighted that the average age of our membership has dropped from 64 to 59 in just over six months," adds Cheryl.
The club have also introduced a successful programme of social events which have become the talk of the area.
"The January Abba and Rod Stewart tribute nights were complete sell outs," says Cheryl, "The format of offering supper and a show out here in the sticks is very appealing. So much so that the club has introduced social membership for the first time in its history with 49 members joining in the first 3 months."
Wyldecrest Chairman and CEO, Alfie Best (pictured right) is a regular visitor in the Clubhouse investing energy to guide his team to ensure the future success of the Club. He always has time to hear the views of members and staff at all levels but doesn't see himself as the Club's owner.
"I just steer the ship," he says. "My team and I are just caretakers of this business. The real success is building a business that can sustain itself far into the future, long after we're gone and we do that by putting people at the heart of what we do."
Alfie knows a thing or two about developing businesses. Having started Wyldecrest Parks in 2001, it has grown to be Europe's largest holiday park operator with more than 60 sites in the UK.
"I have no doubt that Sapey Golf and Country Club is the first of a string of golf clubs that we will have the privilege of nurturing to success", continues Alfie, "Once we have a winning formula for a business, we replicate and grow that brand."
In the meantime, membership at the Club continues to grow and at a recent new member welcome evening Alfie Best announced the imminent arrival of three golf lodges for play and stay golf, confirmed that the new swing simulator installation project is set for a spring 2018 opening and that plans to build a new swimming pool and gym were advancing well.
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