South East: How Coombe Wood’s members saved their clubFebruary, 2015
One club's renaissance, in association with Surrey Golf.
Coombe Wood, built on Kingston Hill in Surrey, has panoramic views all the way to the North Downs.
It’s a sight enjoyed by members and guests since 1904, but the future is also clearly in view for the club itself.
The resurgence in fortunes is a testament to the new management, a hard-working general manager and the deep loyalty of long-standing members. They have pulled together, with investment being made in the course, not least the greens which are hand-cut and cultivated, while a refurbishment of the clubhouse is also planned.
Coombe Wood went through a challenging period when it was announced to the membership that the owners were actively seeking a buyer. The news was not well-received and a number of the board members united to stop the sale. Although some members left initially when they thought the club was in trouble, what became apparent was there was a great loyalty to the club within the membership.
“When we thought about what we could lose, it drew many of us together,” said Ladies Honorary Treasurer Maureen McGowan. “We love this club, so we all pulled together.”
One of this first things the club did was recruit general manager Kevin Mullen, the first to take the role in five year.
‘Above all there’s an air of positivity around the club’ A new structure of memberships was introduced which has proved popular, quickly attracting new members to replace those who left.
“We look after our new members very well and make sure they’re quickly welcomed and brought into the group,” said Maureen. “Although it’s a competitive marketplace with each new member possibly considering three or four different clubs, Coombe Wood’s new policy on reasonable pricing and flexibility has proved successful. The membership is now resurgent and above all there’s an air of positivity around the club.”
The clubhouse and grounds are undergoing continual refurbishment and improvements. The club has also developed a thriving social scene.s
Green fee deals on Amazon Local and TeeOffTimes have been successful in bringing in visitors. In addition, the club supports local charities, culminating in raising £5,000 in a single charity golf day.