New pro Simon relishes Green Drive role
It's the start of a new era in the recent history of Lytham Green Drive Golf Club with the arrival of head professional Simon Jowitt.
And though he is only 36, he has packed a lot of valuable experience in his time in golf – indeed, when he qualified as a fully-fledged pro he made history at the time by being the youngest in the country, a couple of weeks shy of his 23rd birthday.
Jowitt has taken on a wide range of responsibilities at Green Drive in terms of teaching, fostering the game at all levels – and not least singing the praises of the course and its numerous good points.
Jowitt, who has arrived from Grimsby GC, needs no cajoling to promote Green Drive’s qualities.
He said: “It’s in fantastic shape and very different to anything else in the area.
“When people think of Lytham they automatically think of links courses.
“It is an immaculate parkland course with small, quick greens and it’s quite flat; it is a good test of golf and it appeals to everybody.
“The surprise for me is that how difficult the course can play. It is Open week this week so the course has been busy, but I have also been meeting a lot of visitors to the area.
“I try and get feedback from the people who play the course and some of them had no idea it was here until they had searched it on the internet while they were staying in the area. Most of them say they can’t wait to come back.”
Jowitt, a father-of-two, first got interested in golf aged nine.
His father, a builder, actually developed his own driving range in Silsden, where his son gained a lot of his early experience.
Jowitt became a member of Keighley GC and developed an interest in golf teaching and with that in mind became an assistant at Branshaw GC in Yorkshire before moving to Moor Allerton.
He switched back to Branshaw as head pro at the age of nearly 23 before going to Grimsby in 2014.
Jowitt said: “Coaching has always been a big area of interest to me - we set up a golf performance studio at Grimsby and the response was tremendous.
“We actually got Tour professionals like Holly Clyburn and Sophie Walker using it; I have always been into coaching and custom-fitting, beginners right up to Tour professionals.
“We have a fantastic indoor studio here – if anything it has been under-used – but we are going to relaunch that, probably in September.
“We are spending a lot of time and money on that development.
“A big part of my job will be developing the youth side and my idea is to get out into the local schools.
“We also want to develop general membership and get more ladies into golf.”
Jowitt says he has had a warm reception from the Green Drive members.
He joked: “The people here have been really welcoming – but a lot of them are not aware that I am a Yorkshireman, so that might change!”
Jowitt already has a sense of pride about the course and a recent spell of inclement weather has not come amiss.
He said: “Actually, the wet weather we had was welcome.
“The course had been starting to look a little bit thirsty and the greens were getting slightly form, but the rain that we’ve had has helped it tremendously, so the greens have become receptive.
“We had a little bit of disruption in the bunkers and the rain compacted the sand in the bunkers, but the greenkeepers worked hard to restore them.”