Graham Mawe and his partners started the golf centre at Ely over 20 years ago. Initially, it was just the golf range building with the option to create a few extra holes for a nine hole course. Over the last two decades, the business has matured and developed, whilst the area surrounding the range has also undergone a complete upheaval, with the entrance to the golf centre being now via a large retail complex, complete with all of the major retail players that you would expect in such an urban development.
Graham has now bought out all of his former partners and owns the business outright. He is still involved in the day-to-day running of the golf facility and is now looking to consider his options over the coming years. He recently caught up with Golf Features:
“I have had a terrific time running the golf centre here at Ely. It has been a lot of hard work and I’ve had to spend many years abroad working in the security business in order to fund the various elements of the business. Now that the local area has become so well developed, we have noticed our takings rise substantially. I am considering whether to sell the golf centre or look at another means of taking a back seat as I seek to enjoy my retirement in the future.”
Things were very different in 2011, when the clubhouse and range burnt down while Graham was away in Austria. The centre had to be completely rebuilt and is a great credit to Graham and his excellent team that they have managed to rebuild the centre over the last eight years - and it is now even better than it was before.
The range is very well equipped and today is ringed by tall conifer trees planted on top of a bund, which provides substantial protection from the neighbouring businesses and also gives the golf range a very pleasing outlook.
The 16 bay range, which is fully floodlit and generously proportioned, is served by golf professional Chris Pike, who gives a variety of different lessons on site. Ball prices are competitive, costing from £2.50 a bucket of 30 balls. There is also a practice bunker, putting green and chipping area.
The 9 hole course was built in 2002, with holes varying in length from 143yds to 352yds, providing plenty of interest to golfers of varied abilities. The course and range were subject to a major inert importation project, which Graham managed with one of his acquaintances, who is a specialist in the field of soil transportation. The additional landscaping, married to appropriate planting, has hugely improved what was quite a flat site to start with. The green fees start from £10 for adults and £7 for juniors, so is very affordable for those getting into golf. The early morning golf for the seniors is particularly popular – they have regular matches against other local clubs and plenty of internal competitions, all of which are well attended and give the centre a warm buzz of activity and post-golf banter. It is a very friendly place. Shorter courses are particularly suited to older customers, and providing they are able to enjoy their golf at reasonable prices, then they will give a genuine boost to any golf centre’s takings. Annual playing membership is just £365 per person - well within the grasp of most retired golfers.
The clubhouse and patios link seamlessly to provide a pleasant and airy space, which is ideal for socialising before and after golf. There is also a good size putting green immediately adjacent to the patio area, so friends and acquaintances can easily greet each other as they arrive to share some informal golf. The café bar does a brisk trade and the whole centre sparkles with polish. It is beautifully run.
For those who would like to learn more please visit the website: www.elydrivingrange.co.uk
and you can reach Graham directly by email at: firstname.lastname@example.org.