DESPITE two years of unprecedented challenge, Penrith Golf Hub is celebrating its extraordinary growth, achieved by implementing innovative technology and embracing social media. Directors, Lee Edwards, Andrew Pickering, and John Ingham purchased what was Penrith Driving Range in December 2019, stripping everything back to basics and starting again; they have since transformed it into one of the North of England’s leading practice facilities.
“At the heart of Penrith Golf Hub’s growth and development is pioneering technology,” explains Lee Edwards. “Introducing Toptracer in all 14 bays, for example, has been invaluable for customers in measuring ball flight, speed, distance and trajectory.”
The establishment has also installed two state-of-the-art teaching bays, one serving as a bespoke custom fitting suite, together with Trackman 4 and three 50-inch screens on which to display the data and video analysis. In addition, an innovative Boditrak pressure mat and app demonstrates interaction with the ground and pressure location during the swing. And recent considerable investment in new coaching software in each teaching bay, ‘Sportbox’ which is comprehensive markerless 3D motion swing analysis, provides real time feedback that is easy for the customer to understand and visualise.
“In everything that we do, we put our customers needs first. How can we make their experience more enjoyable and constructive; being able to provide first-rate statistical analysis through technology has seen our clients transform their game. It’s why they come to us,” adds Lee.
Central to any successful organisation is its knowledgeable team. Selected carefully by Lee, Andrew and John, they have attracted the very best talent to Penrith Golf Hub. In spotting a ‘gap in the market’ for social media ‘with a twist’, they enlisted the expertise of Michael Newton, a PGA Professional with 58,000 YouTube subscribers; Mike joined the team in March 2020 and has propelled Penrith Golf Hub into the virtual world. He joins PGA Professionals, James and Stewart Wilkinson and Jonathan Graham (who is certified in hack motion, 3D technology and TPI screening). A SAM Putt Lab studio designed for teaching and fitting and housing more than 140 putters is also a feature at Penrith Golf Hub, and all staff are SAM Putt Lab certified and Trackman-trained.
And whilst many businesses were foundering during the multiple Covid-19 lockdowns, the team at Penrith rolled up their sleeves and got to work. The most recent lockdown presented the opportunity to create a custom-built workshop to enable the team to undertake repairs and regrips on a ‘whilst you wait’ basis, with more than 40 styles and sizes of grip held in stock. Its retail space holds products from major golf brands, such as Adidas, Footjoy, Galvin Green, Sunderland and Mizuno.
The nine-hole on-site course has also been transformed by a new team of greens staff and a £100,000 investment, and footgolf is the latest activity to be added to its list of facilities. In fact, Penrith Golf Hub welcomes hordes of families, many of whom are impressed by the Hub’s commitment to the junior drive. Its new junior pathway launched last month with an incentive programme for the juniors to get involved with individual lessons, skills testing and its Saturday morning ‘roll up’ sessions for all ages and abilities. The Hub is currently working with a local charity and will soon welcome disadvantaged children on-site.
“Encouraging young people from all backgrounds to ‘have a go’ is of paramount importance to us,” says Lee. “We have created an inclusive, positive and encouraging environment here where everyone is welcome.”
It is the implementation of these features, and the forward-thinking team at Penrith that are enabling the Hub’s growth. Custom fitting remains a significant part of its business; it has become renowned as a centre of excellence in this regard, with customers travelling from all over the UK to utilise this service. Little wonder that custom fitting figures rose by 78% from end 2020 to end 2021 with overall revenue increasing by 63% over the same period. More than two million balls were hit on the driving range in 2021 and green fees rose by a staggering 50%. Penrith Golf Hub was recently selected by Cumbria County men’s and ladies’ teams for the next three years as a training facility. It is recognised as the leading teaching and fitting facility in the county of Cumbria.
“We are ambitious, but our work is paying off,” says Lee. “We are anticipating tremendous growth over the next five years with continual investment in the latest technology and the addition of a new on-site café/bar. We remain one of the UK’s leading teaching and custom fitting facilities and to have achieved that in two years is nothing short of extraordinary.”