THE best sponsor imaginable has fallen into the welcoming arms of a South East Cheshire-based club this season in Steve Nicholson, the UK sales manager of Bilyana Golf Holidays.
The 5.4 handicapper, a former member at Mottram Hall, is in his fourth month as a Congleton member having moved house to Buglawton from Macclesfield.
Bilyana, a golf specialist tour operator, have become the shirt sponsors for the Congleton team who play in the North Staffs and District League.
They have also put up prizes of four-night golf holidays in the Algarve – one for a club competition of the men’s section’s choosing and another for the ladies.
Bilyana’s UK headquarters are in Macclesfield and their association with Congleton stems from a successful meeting involving Steve, the club chairman Paul Bennett and secretary David Lancake.
“There were two main objectives for me,” explained Steve, a former King’s School Macclesfield pupil.
“Firstly, as a golfer, the priority was somewhere where I could play a quick nine holes, practice, enjoy my golf and the occasional comp and feel part of a club.
“Secondly, I enjoy an opportunity to network, promote the golf holidays business and give something back to the club at the same time. It’s reciprocal, a two-way street.
“I enjoyed a very welcoming meeting indeed with the chairman and the secretary who I both found very open to ideas.
“Also, Congleton is such a warm and friendly club I have felt at home there right away.”
The 42-year-old Steve has impressive experience having worked for Bilyana for seven years in Antalya, Turkey, before asking to front up the UK operation in Macclesfield five years ago.
The destinations Bilyana cover are Turkey, Morocco, Portugal and they will soon be adding the UK for domestic golf holidays.
Pre-pandemic, more than 20,000 golfers travelling to Belek in Turkey booked with Bilyana in 2019, more than any other golf travel company in the world.
Bilyana have just moved into new offices at the Kathleen Roylance Buildings in the centre of Macclesfield, near the railway station.
Steve added: “We are very excited to be sponsoring Congleton Golf Club and we look forward to contributing to the all the fun of the enjoyable events for the members this year as we get back into the game we all love so much.”
Congleton chairman Paul Bennett added: “Steve is a breath of fresh air, very accommodating and has become a valued member of the club.”