A NORTH Shropshire-based pair of golf enthusiasts have set up a business to help maintain golf clubs across the country.

Kelly Lowe and Sandra Prescott are the driving force behind Whitchurch-based Fairways Partnership which aims to help golf clubs make money through ways other than membership fees and green fees.

The pair hope to capitalise on a time in which golf is one of the world’s more up and coming sports, and hope to prevent the closure of clubs in the country.

Kelly said: “With golf clubs generally struggling over the past few years, we decided to put all our efforts into golf and look at how we can help clubs to raise funds in other ways than just through memberships and green fees.

“We’ve looked at many ideas, including weddings and functions.

“Essentially, we are offering a service to clubs which they would normally pay a sales manager a higher price for.

“Over the past few years, a number of courses across the country have been closing down, and it is a real shame, especially with golf being one of the more up-and-coming sports at the moment.

“I think it is partly down to the fact that due to the number of courses around, clubs are often pressured into lowering their prices to be competitive.

“This means, for a lot of clubs, the upkeep can become unsustainable eventually.”

Fairways Partnership also offers help in temporarily taking over a club while the usual managers take a step back.

Kelly added: “We are able to help in a number of scenarios. If a club is struggling or looking to close, we are able to send in staff, almost like an agency, who are trained to help with the running of the club while the owners or staff take a step back from it.

“We can then run the club at a monthly cost for them, until the time is right for them to sit down with us and discuss a plan going forward.

“We think offering events and venue hire at courses is another way of putting money into the sport.

“Essentially, this is a way of protecting golf as a sport and the courses on which it is played.”

Kelly added that she believes the women’s side of the game is emerging.

“We definitely feel as though women’s golf is on the rise,” she said.

“From our point of view, sometimes men in golf would go over women’s heads in a golf shop or on a course, in order to speak to a man as they felt we would not know as much.

“This has changed a lot. The boundaries of gender in golf are coming down, and although there still seems to be a large number of men in comparison to women involved, we are already seeing a huge difference.”

On top of the work they do for clubs, the pair have selected charities to hold charity days throughout the year.

“We try to work with charities close to us,” said Kelly.

“My daughter has been treated for a heart disease, undergoing four open heart surgery procedures already – she is at the age of 11 now.

“So for that reason we support Birmingham Children’s Hospital.

“Our other chosen charity is MacMillan. There will be a charity event held in July for the hospital and one in October for MacMillan.”