Meet the Manager… Simon Williams

Sherwood Forest’s general manager wants his heathland venue to stay right at the top of English golf… How did you become a golf club manager? After about 25 years as a professional, doing various roles from playing to coaching, I wanted to see the other side and I started management at a centre for Glendale Golf and I’ve now been at Sherwood Forest for two and a half years. What drew you in to management? I just thought I could do the role and connect with the staff. You often find at a private members’ club it’s very disjointed between the staff and committee and if you have a certain element in between then it doesn’t gel. It doesn’t work. So I felt that was my calling in that I could connect with people and the staff. As you say, you’ve been here two and a half years and there has been lots going on. Tell me a little bit about the developments and how Sherwood Forest is pushing forward… The [driving] range development was in progress when I joined and that was completed last September, with the infrastructure of the building, ball collection, and cutting robots on the outfield. We also completed a short game area just recently, which took quite a lot of time and effort with design, construction and problems with the weather. We had a tremendous number of storms and every time we seemed to put seed down it washed away. That happened a couple of times and was a challenge. Because of some of those weather conditions, we had issues with flooding on our access road and that took a tremendous amount of work from committee, greens staff and me to come up with solutions. We also did a lot of work on the clubhouse. A patio area has been built, which has been a tremendous asset, particularly in Covid times, and people can sit outside. We also had some refurbishment work done on the other side of the clubhouse near to the 1st tee. So there were a lot of projects in the first couple of years. And Covid to deal with. Golf clubs were naturally a bit cautious financially at the start of the pandemic. But you guys just seem to have ploughed on with all this work? It was well planned at committee level. They had it ready to go and it was a good time to do it when people weren’t around. We also held the Brabazon Trophy last year, in Covid conditions, which was a challenge. How did you find that? It was very good. England Golf were very good with how they did it. It was supposed to be in May, then it got kicked back to August. Obviously, there was a worry that it wouldn’t go ahead. But when we did it, it was really good for the club. It was probably slightly sad that we didn’t have as many spectators as we could have had but it...
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