When Peter Durham and Teresa Neeson took over the golf range at Hemingford Abbots three years ago, they worked from two temporary buildings. The business has grown substantially over this time, with turnover almost doubling each year. Visit the complex n

The Hunts Post Huntingdonshire Business Awards reward excellence. PETER DURHAM of The Hemingford Abbots Golf Complex tells LISA HANLON why winning Small

Business of the Year has helped put his and his partner's business on the map.

When Peter Durham and Teresa Neeson took over the golf range at Hemingford Abbots three years ago, they worked from two temporary buildings.

The business has grown substantially over this time, with turnover almost doubling each year.

Visit the complex now and you will see a big difference. There is a beautiful golf range featuring automated tees, Srixon two-piece golf balls, short game water targets, eight outdoor turf bays and a video teaching academy with three full-time PGA golf professionals. In addition to this, the facility now boasts a superb Direct Golf Superstore featuring top golf brands at low prices and a full custom fit service on all club purchases.

In July, work starts on a new short game area, family restaurant and function rooms, which are scheduled to open in November this year.

The couple's hard work, vision and commitment were amply rewarded last November when the company, then called TP Golf Management, scooped three Hunts Post business awards, including Small Business of the Year.

"We've come a long way," said Mr Durham, founder and managing director. He is in no doubt as to what has made their story a success: "Our knowledge of the golf industry, especially golf retail, and our approach to customer service, which we highly value."

Mr Durham and Ms Neeson worked together in Manchester before moving to this area where he became operations manager for American Golf Discount and she the purchase manager.

"In addition to our knowledge we have been prepared to work 24/7 to turn this business around. We put up the security of our home in Manchester to be able to do this. And we always try to exceed the expectations of our customers when it comes to service. We have worked to create the atmosphere of a club more than just a range and golf shop. We aim to know our customers by their first names by their second visit. When the judges for this award sent in their mystery shoppers, their comments demonstrated that we really do deliver. We gave them the usual full custom fit service and they left two hours later. "Customer service today is the only thing that can separate you from the competition. In today's busy world, we all have demanding jobs and therefore should insist on excellent service when we spend our hard earned cash.

"The Hemingford Golf Complex is not just for adults. The business works with local schools in the area and 260 young people are coached at the complex each week.

"These youngsters are the future of golf," said Mr Durham. "Golf is a good discipline for them and we encourage families to come here and play with their kids. It gets them out from behind a computer screen."

Mr Durham admits the couple's hard work has, sometimes, been relentless: "There are times when you do ask yourself why you are doing this. But winning these awards confirmed our efforts were worthwhile. These awards demonstrate we are making a difference and are achieving what we set out to do."

INFORMATION: The Hemingford Abbots Golf Complex is on Cambridge Road, Huntingdon, junction 25 off the A14. The golf range and superstore is just behind the golf course. For more details telephone 01480 492939 e-mail enquiries@tpgolfcentre.co.uk or log onto www.direct-golf.co.uk