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New lease of life at Westminster Park

TWO businessmen from Chester have taken over the 25-year lease of the city’s nine-hole council-owned Westminster Park golf course.

Nick Stark and Paul Hodgson, who also run Walton Hall Golf Course, near Warrington as well as their Golfstorehouse retail business, took over the lease on April 1. The complex had previously been run by Brio Leisure.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to use our expertise to make a success of the place,” said Nick.

“People have less time on their hands these days and nine-hole golf is going to become more and more popular. You can get round nine holes here in under an hour.

“Although it’s only a short course there are some great holes including the sixth, which is the longest at 167 yards. The shortest is the 63-yard ninth.

“My favourite is the seventh as the tee and the green are both elevated.”

The pair have already got the course back to a good condition.

“We’ve got a new greenkeeper in and the greens and fairways are great. We are re-doing the tees now and the bunkers will be done soon too,” added Nick.

“The course is ideal for everyone. It’s great for youngsters and beginners and is perfect for seniors as it is not hilly and is an easy walk.

“The plan is to go into local schools and we’ve got the cubs coming down for taster days as well.”

Nick, who lives just a stone’s throw from the 964-yard long par three course, and former Carden Park pro Paul, have lots of initiatives planned with school partnerships including free Tri-golf taster sessions.

“It’s a great opportunity for Paul with all the work he does with the Golf Foundation and disabled golf,” said Nick.

“Paul is a great junior coach and is highly qualified in that field. It’s going to be ideal for kids to come along. We plan to set up a junior club once we get our feet under the table.”

It’s not just the youngsters that are making the most of the new lease of life.

“MBNA brought 15 members of staff from the local business park to take part in a team building day. They had a coffee and nine holes and seemed to have a great time,” said Nick.

There will also be opportunities for ladies through the Get into Golf scheme.

“It’s all about getting more people playing and making it fun. We’ve even got a cafe that we’re hoping will be popular with the parents while the kids go out and play or have their lessons.

“We like to think there is something for everyone.”