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Woosie to make Ellesmere Port appearance

FORMER US Masters champion and Ryder Cup captain Ian Woosnam is to help breathe new life into a troubled Cheshire golf course.

The Welshman, who triumphed at Augusta in 1991, is to take over the running of Hooton Golf Club in Ellesmere Port under the banner of The Ian Woosnam Golf Academy and Golf Courses.
The course is set to re-open on Monday, April 1, but the 61 years-old, who has notched up 52 tournament wins during a professional career dating back to 1976, will be at the club tomorrow (March 23) for a special Open Day (11am-4pm).
Details of how to join the club and Woosnam’s plans for the future will be available, with Ellesmere Port members also able to enjoy  free membership at Queens Park, Crewe, and five free rounds of golf on weekdays at Malkins Bank, Sandbach.
The club closed in October 2018 after its operator Mack Trading Ltd ceased trading with Cheshire West and Chester Council taking over responsibility so they could secure the future of the golfing facility.
Council officials are delighted to have attracted such a major name in the world of golf to take over the running of the site.
Woosnam was a Ryder Cup player on nine occasions, and was captain in 2006 when Europe defeated America by one of the largest Ryder Cup winning margins by 18 and a half to 9 and a half.
Tony Minshall, managing director of the parent company RM Estates Ltd, and a former European Tour player said: “Our company policy is to make each of our courses is a course for all.  Ian actively wants young people to take up the game and try to emulate what he has achieved.
“He would like to develop another champion golfer from the North West.  We offer free membership to junior golfers under the age of 18 at all our sites.   This is Ian’s commitment to junior golfers.

“The company has invested in a fleet of new Jacobsen mowers and other machines for use at Hooton.   The new machinery will improve the quality of the grass.  We also intend to drain, and put new sand in, the bunkers.  We will then re-assess the quality of the course, initial thoughts being to increase the teeing areas, and to add further bunkers.

“We manage our courses well, and value for money is our motto.  We like people to be able to enjoy their golf, so the price has to be and will be right.  The course and its facilities are a public facility, and we will continue to operate it to the Council’s guidelines.”

Cllr Louise Gittins, cabinet member for communities and wellbeing, said: “I know Ian Woosnam has exciting plans for the course.”

Andrew Griffiths and Graeme Bagnall will be looking after operations.  Andrew, a PGA professional of more than 46 years experience and a former Welsh professional champion, will help golfers enjoy their experience at Ellesmere Port. Graeme started with Tony at Hill Valley Golf Club in Whitchurch, Shropshire, as a 16-year-old, and went on to become golf director at Hill Valley before joining Tony at Malkins Bank.

The Ian Woosnam Golf Course and Academy brand was established at Malkins Bank Golf Club, Sandbach and Queens Park Golf Course, Crewe.

For more information on the Open Day, membership enrolment or function/venue hire details there is a temporary number for golf club enquiries at Ellesmere Port: 07393 113572.