It’s an exciting time at Churchill & Blakedown – and not just because chips have returned to the Sunday menu.
A new pro team has injected fresh vim and vigour to the club while the launch of a successful Flex-Up membership has brought in 60 new faces.
While on the surface a 9-hole club, members would beg to differ. Two circuits of this picturesque course off its 18 tees see it play the third longest in Worcestershire off 6,510 yards.
It’s tricky and testing too – the Standard Scratch Score was bumped up by one across White, Yellow and Red tees by England Golf in October. A handicap carved out in the many and varied competitions schedule is well-deserved, and travels well.
If time permits, and it often does at Churchill & Blakedown which has a timeless quality in its secluded landscape tucked off the A456, there are also some stunning views to soak up.
The club prides itself on its friendly welcome and accessibility, as thriving junior and women sections testify, but could also legitimately pride itself on its impressive setting. This club is hidden away in North Worcestershire, and it is a gem so members can be forgiven for lauding the club as a hidden gem.
With the PGA professional team of Angus Hoare and Phil Lathwood driving a busy coaching programme both in the club and in the community, the seeds are being sown for a bright future.
A little over five years ago Angus was still out coaching in all weathers through the winter at his former club Wharton Park.
But days spent in freezing conditions on a rain-lashed range are long gone, pupils instead gather in the warm surroundings of his purpose-built studio above the pro shop at Churchill and Blakedown.
Members dug deep to fund the studio – a reflection of their faith in Angus and their commitment to helping the club thrive into the future.
The benefits, intricacies, delights and nuances of golfing technology are now a staple part of Angus’s coaching diet – and he couldn’t be more pleased.
“It is a 365 days a year and 24 hours a day facility if you want it,” says Hoare who is a PGA Advanced Professional.
“In the middle of winter, golfers can wear a tee shirt in contrast to the old days when they looked like Michelin man and couldn’t swing the club because they had that many layers on.”
He added: “I try and make the studio experience very professional – make them feel special and make the experience better than they’ve ever experienced in the past.
“I want to make them feel within that half an hour or hour, that the coach is really with them and the value for money is fantastic.”
“The members got together, a handful of members put hand in pockets for the studio to be built. And yes, they believe in the development that the golf pro can drive.
“They know the golf club can grow, and they have been fantastically forward thinking for a golf club that didn’t have a golf pro for a while.
“And in the environment we are in right now, Churchill & Blakedown is competitive and we have a membership with immense pride in their club who are all working to make it a success.”
With Angus and Phil on board, an on-going programme of course update and development under head greenkeeper Mark Clewes, a famed catering and bar set up under legendary in-house team Ann and John Voizey plus a dedicated committee structure led by captain Bob Julier, the future is looking bright for Churchill & Blakeown.
If you’ve managed to read through to the last paragraph there is only one thing left to say – if you haven’t played it yet come and have a round!
Visitors and golf societies are warmly welcomed with excellent bar and catering facilities provided.