‘It was a crazy time’: How Bush Hill Park became England Golf’s Club of the Year

Bush Hill Park achieved a remarkable amount when many clubs battened down the hatches during lockdowns. Now the work of general manager Stewart Judd, and his team at the London course, has been recognised with England Golf's Club of the Year award... This is quite a shopping list, so bear with me as we make our way through it: new bunkers, an on-course toilet facility and a halfway hut. Five undercover practice bays and a new chipping area for members. A takeaway service that sold 2,500 portions of fish and chips and curry. More than 100 food parcels delivered to members, who were either forced to self-isolate or couldn’t get out to a supermarket to shop. Take a breath. We’re not done yet. Perishable food and drink that was donated to a homeless charity. An enhanced social media campaign that sprawled out into the community. 160 new members and a new women’s affiliate programme that put 26 players on a pathway to full membership. Oh, and Bush Hill Park celebrated its 125th anniversary and became a limited company at the same time. All while negotiating a pandemic and three lockdowns. Is there any wonder the London club was named England Golf’s Club of the Year last week? If the last 12 months or so have been a whirlwind for general manager Stewart Judd and his team then so have the past few days after Bush Hill Park edged out Derbyshire club Stanedge, Cumbria’s Dunnerholme and The Nottinghamshire Golf and Country Club to the premier accolade at the England Golf Awards. What’s more, Judd hasn’t really worked out quite how it all happened. “It was a crazy time – absolutely crazy,” he admits. “I was probably working every day. We had volunteers. We had a board who were trying to drive things as well. “I have asked myself the same question of how we did it, but I think it’s a can do attitude and probably being in survival mode. Perhaps it brought something else out. I don’t know. But we did huge amounts.” Judd was brought in four years ago to a traditional club with a declining membership. His brief was to shake things up and get people back through the doors. He was making good progress but then coronavirus changed everything – and gave Bush Hill Park an unexpected bolt. “The club was really brought together and it was the community aspect of it that I focused on. While we were in uncertainty, I focused on what was certain – the membership and the community that is there within the club. “We set up a virtual clubhouse via our Facebook community page, where our members signed in and were sharing funnies and stories and golf tips. I was still taking photos at the club and sharing them. “We did a food delivery service. Members were using our food and drink suppliers to provide basic groceries and we delivered 100 food parcels to members, who were either shielding or couldn’t...
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