A 25 year success story, and still growing...
As we despairingly watch on, only to see several golf courses across the UK either struggling or closing each year, it is a refreshing change to shout about the success of a club that has continued to grow through a global recession and extremely testing times for the golf industry.
So, why have Cottingham Parks succeeded when other clubs have struggled? The answer would seem quite simple in that we have slowly developed the site, never over stretching ourselves and re-investing the profits at every opportunity.
Built on land once farmed by owner John Wiles, this family run business was opened on 1st August 1994 with a family audience very much in mind.
Starting with just a container for the clubhouse and shop, Cottingham Parks can now boast all the amenities on offer at other clubs plus so much more.
Aside from the two 18 hole golf courses, there is a Health club with gym, studio classes, swimming pool, jacuzzi, steam and sauna rooms, all backed up by first class catering within the spacious clubhouse.
To complete the facilities there is also a driving range where robots collect the balls, a putting green, 2 short game areas, (one artificial to allow for all year round practice), and 21 holiday lodges all on the one site.
John says, ‘In the early days our success was very much built on hard work and team spirit with everyone doing whatever was necessary to make it work, including designing and building the course ourselves. As the site has developed key personnel have been brought in to further grow the business. Throughout this process we have always maintained our determination to provide an excellent facility underpinned by good customer service’.
From the outset we looked to attract families into golf and placed an early focus on developing the Junior Academy which has reaped rewards over the years. No fewer than eight juniors have progressed into the professional ranks, but possibly one of the best achievements came in 2007, when the Cottingham Parks Juniors became the first East Riding club to represent Yorkshire in the national junior team finals.
The importance attached to the Juniors in these early days still exists through the thriving Junior Development programme and the free membership for any junior who’s parent is a full paying member. This, along with the Academy membership is just one of the many member incentives on offer.
Careful attention has also been given to the development of the golf course, with the construction of many man-made water features and the planting of 1,000’s of trees that now frame the fairways. This careful attention quickly established Cottingham Parks course as a popular destination for visiting parties, Corporate and Charity days but, despite this, we remain one of Yorkshires hidden gems.
Another important development was the addition to the company portfolio of the Skidby Lakes course in 2008, which gives members the option of two courses for the price of one. The Lakes course was re-designed in 2016 and although shorter than the Parks course, presents an equally challenging prospect with its smaller, trickier greens. These changes have seen a growing following among casual visitors who seek out those excellent value for money venues.
Both golf club members and visitors will always receive a warm welcome at the club with numerous golf events throughout the year helping to create a great camaraderie spirit within the club. These events include social golf evenings of ‘chip and putt’ nights, par 3 nights, putting championships and summer leagues. These events also sharpen that competitive edge within the club who can now boast about winning numerous local events which in turn helps to drive the club forward. This was never more evident than in 2016 when 2 pairs from Cottingham reached the international pairs World final, both finishing in the top ten.
In 2000 the club held its first Pro-am and by 2011 this had grown into a two day pro-am and shown on Sky tv.
To complement the golf there is a vibrant spacious clubhouse with an excellent choice of top quality food on offer. This can range from a healthy breakfast option to a fully fledged restaurant experience based around various international cuisines. In all it is the ideal place to sit on the balcony on a summer evening enjoying a meal and a drink whilst carrying out the post mortem of your round of golf.
To complete the member experience a health club, with a gym area and studio which host a variety of classes, was added in 2001. Shortly after the swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi were opened, all of which maintained our vision of a family club with many now taking full advantage of all the facilities on offer.
The Health club using all the latest technology was upgraded in 2017 with the focus heavily on the wellbeing of our members with staff always on hand to help.
Completing the package there is a remedial masseur (Steve Osborne) along with a hair and beauty salon (Gingerlily) on site.
With the not insignificant costs involved in running an operation of this size and its impact on the environment, consideration has been given to both the efficiency and carbon footprint of the business. To achieve both of these objectives we took the plunge and invested in both bio-mass and solar energy installations. While extremely costly at the time both have now proved to be a wise investment.
So what of the future?
Not being ones to allow the grass to grow under their feet, the directors of Cottingham Parks are already looking to the next stage of the development. John said ‘Outline plans have been drawn up for the construction a hotel containing up to 70 bedrooms which would sit well alongside the 21 lodges currently on site. All we need now is the go ahead from the local planning office’.