By David Birtill
CARUS Green Golf Club, which began life as a pay-and-play resort in 1996, has been transformed into one of the top venues in the North West thanks to the vision of owner Graham Curtis – and its five PGA professionals.
The scenic parkland course, a few well struck drivers away from Kendal town centre, is almost unrecognisable since its £2m revamp last year.
It hosted the PGA North Region Championship in May, which brought gushing praise from the players including winner Matthew Tottey, but it’s the rest of its facilities that must turn many clubs in the area green with envy.
Nestling behind its spectacular clubhouse is the Gary Wolstenholme Academy, thus named in deference to the world’s most celebrated amateur who today showcases his talents on the European Senior Tour where he represents Carus Green.
Andrew Pickering, who joined the professional team seven years ago, said: “He is wearing the club logo in tournaments which helps to promote what we are doing here. And that’s coaching at the highest level in addition to specialising in club fitting.”
Since the driving range opened 11 years ago there has been a series of bolt-ons such as private teaching bays, a swing analysis studio and an indoor putting room.
Pickering, a Cumbria junior coach, enthused: “A lot of people visit the Lake District and many of them come here to enjoy our facilities and stay at our residential lets. We have nearly 500 members so we are in a strong situation. Our ethos has always been to offer great value for money. We also go into local schools and work with the Golf Foundation.”
He added: “We set up an academy membership to get people through the door and since then our lessons have doubled.”
David Turner is the longest-serving professional at the club, arriving 14 years ago, and is a central figure in the whole complex.
Lee Edwards, the academy manager, has worked with some of the region’s top amateurs and European Tour players.
So, too, has Andrew Waple who has BA Hons degree in applied golf management studies whose past clients include Seve Ballesteros and Nicolas Colsaerts.
And Tyson Barclay, a past junior captain of the club who specialises in video analyses, oversees the younger members.
Andrew Pickering, left, and David Turner.