New West Lancs head professional has had three days off in a month... but couldn’t be happier
By Bryce Ritchie
Gavin Abson, the new head professional at The West Lancashire Golf Club, has told English Club Golfer he has been ‘overwhelmed’ with the messages of support he has enjoyed from everyone connected with the club.
Abson, 34, took up the prestigious role in January after a six-year stint as the head professional at The Carrick on Loch Lomond in Scotland. Prior to that, he was at Royal Troon Golf Club, host venue for this year’s Open Championship.
The Englishman, who hails from Solihull, described his new position as an ‘absolute dream come true’.
“West Lancs is an amazing golf club,” he told ECG. “It will host the English Women’s Amateur Championship this year and there is talk of a few other prestigious amateur tournaments being played here. But this role is an absolute dream come true. This is the opportunity I have always wanted. I need to grab it with both hands and make a success of it.”
He says he has settled in well during his first month, despite having only three days off. However, he’s not bothered by the lack of sleep.
“I’m waking up at 6am and still doing work at midnight - but I am enjoying every single minute of it,” he said. “I’m putting everything into the role and loving every minute.”
He believes his experience and plans for the future are a good mix with the management team in charge at West Lancs, which he says is very forward-thinking, something that will stand the club in good stead considering the current industry environment.
“I spent a couple of years at Royal Troon, then moved to The Carrick, which has a more commercial approach compared to Troon, a prestigious private members club,” added Abson. “Golf going the way it is, clubs now need to be more commercially aware. Having a mix of those two elements stood me in good stead to get the job here. I have always wanted to be a head pro at a well-known prestigious, private members’ club - I love that environment. It gives me a chance to put my skills into practice and interact with people. Now, I’m not only coaching, I’m also retailing, doing club repairs, custom fitting, doing everything. It’s what I’ve always wanted to do.
“The members have been fantastic and, to be honest, I’ve been slightly overwhelmed by the messages of support. There have been people just popping into the club to see me and say ‘hello’ and wish me all the best, and then leave!
“It’s been a steep learning curve to begin with, with lots of new procedures and processes and 600 names to try and remember. It’s easy for them because they’ve only got my name to remember but I’m beginning to get to know the guys who play on regular days and so on, and that’s going to take time. I’m hopefully going to be here long enough to build relationships with all the members.”
He added that the future of the club was in good hands thanks to a vibrant, young management team.
“It’s a very forward-thinking club. There’s a new greenkeeper here with a fantastic reputation, Stuart Hogg, a master greenkeeper, who came from St Annes Old Links. The members are raving about what he’s done to the course. The golf manager, Chris Alty, is in his thirties and has lots of great ideas. The management team is young and pro-activeg, which makes my job easier. They are very accepting of the changes I want to make.”
Abson will also now be English Club Golfer’s instruction editor and will feature in every issue.