CAMBRIDGESHIRE Golf and Conference Centre, at Hemingford Abbots, which went into administration on March 1, has been bought by its largest non-bank creditor and is already well on the way to a healthy future, he says.

Former pro John Andrew, chairman of equipment retailer Direct Golf UK, said he had personally bought the buildings to get the banks out of the multi-faceted business.

It was already breaking records on the day it re-opened with all 28 employees retained. And he is now set to recruit more.

The business was originally opened as TP Golf Management by Peter Durham and Teresa Neeson, when equipment sales were Direct Golf's only franchise. Over the years, the couple's multi-million pound investments added a restaurant and conference centre, but it was the burden of financing that is believed to have become overwhelming when business turned down in recession.

New owner Mr Andrew is a Yorkshireman with serious respect for these southerners in Huntingdonshire.

“The staff are all very enthusiastic about the plans we have for the business,” he told The Hunts Post. “I've promoted Ian Cochrane to be general manager of the site. I know he'll be great, because he has worked for me before.

“We re-opened the Direct Golf superstore on Wednesday with double the amount of stock and, without any marketing, we had a record day for the company.

“It's a busy place. We started at 8.30am and didn't finish until 10pm. We were amazed.

“And that kicked off a record day for the bar, the range and the shop. It has carried on since then. It's been non-stop.”

Although the retail activity provides more than 70 per cent of turnover, Mr Andrew also has further plans to develop the restaurant and conference facilities.

“The conference side of the business is new to me, but it's fantastic and I have a great team here.”

For the time being, Mr Andrew will spend two or three days a week at the Hemingford site, devoting the balance of his time to the rest of 20-year-old Direct Golf's 17-store empire, with 200 staff including 50 PGA professionals and four golf academies.

“We specialise a lot in junior development, and that's what we intend to do here,” he said.

“Featuring a testing nine-hole golf course, superb 38 bay driving range with air-cushion mats, automated Powertees and splash pond water targets, as well as an unrivalled all-weather short game area and John Letters teaching academy, the site is the ultimate facility for golfers of all levels in the Peterborough and Cambridge area.

“Add to that a fully-stocked 4,000 sq ft Direct Golf UK store, offering all the latest equipment on-site and full custom-fitting service offered by PGA professional staff and purpose-built conference facilities for up to 200 delegates with on-site restaurant and bar, and it's easy to see why Direct Golf UK pulled out all the stops to purchase the complex.”

INFORMATION: Hemingford Abbots Golf Complex is off the A14 at Cambridge Road, Hemingford Abbots PE28 9HQ: www.cgcc.co.uk