Foxhills announces new director of golf to lead £1.5m course investment project

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Surrey venue has committed to major investment over the next five years
Posted on
January 4, 2023
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Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

Foxhills Club & Resort has appointed Sean Graham as its new director of golf, with the 29-year-old set to oversee a major golf course modernisation project which has seen the club already invest more than £1.5 million.

Having spent almost five years working at Foxhills as head of golf operations and retail, Graham’s promotion has come at an exciting time for the club as he leads the golf team through the significant golf course improvements.

Following the opening of a dedicated short game area, The Practice Den, and significant driving range enhancements, the Surrey venue has committed to major investment in its Longcross and Bernard Hunt courses over the next five years which will see the biggest structural changes in the layouts since they were designed by Fred Hawtree and opened for play in 1975.

RELATED: Remote Cornwall club set for a further £1m investment

As part of the significant upgrades, the best-in-class greenkeeping equipment has been purchased from leading suppliers, Toro and John Deere, which will elevate the conditioning and maintenance to even higher standards.

Work on several holes on the back nine of the Longcross - renowned as one of Surrey’s top tree-lined layouts and consistently featured in UK top 100 rankings – is already underway.

Longcross #14

European Golf Design (EGD), which has redesigned several of Europe’s most exciting golf courses including 2023 Ryder Cup venue Golf Club Marco Simone and the West Course at Wentworth, was selected for the work following a full review of both championship courses with agronomy experts, Turfgrass. The assessment highlighted where playing conditions can be improved and how the courses can better challenge the modern style of the game.

Bunker shape and positioning; green size, shape and contouring; as well as herringbone drainage and irrigation upgrade work on holes 12, 13, 14 and 15 of the Longcross will take place over the coming months, while tee positions will also change on several holes to bring hazards more in play and encourage more strategy and creativity throughout the round.

But it is on the 16th hole where the most complex part of the renovation project will take place, with work already having begun to transform the par-three into a signature hole. A pond, which currently sits too far away from the green to influence club selection, will be extended to the putting-surface edge to create a more dramatic hole. The size of the green will also be increased to provide room for additional pin locations and a new bunker will be built on the left side of the green to remove the temptation of bailing out.

RELATED: Future is looking bright for rejuvenated Hertfordshire club

Phase two is scheduled to begin in summer 2023, with attention turning to improvements across the rest of the back nine on the Longcross before moving onto the Bernard Hunt in 2024.

Graham’s new role continues his rapid rise in the industry since graduating as a PGA professional in 2014 from the University of Birmingham which has recently seen him named as just one of 22 industry leaders to have been inducted into 59club’s Eminent Collection, recognising customer service excellence and exceptional management qualities.

Graham joined the Surrey venue in 2018 upon returning to the UK after time spent working in the Middle East where he was golf operations manager at Safaa Golf Club, Saudi Arabia, for three years.

Graham said: “Being given the opportunity to become director of golf here at Foxhills Club & Resort is a really proud moment for me. It’s reward for how hard I feel I’ve worked since joining Foxhills five years ago and it’s also hopefully a reflection of my relationship with the members. I feel like I have a real connection with the club, so it’s a really gratifying moment for me and I can’t wait to get started.

RELATED: Cornwall club earns sustainability seal of approval after a decade of hard work

“This is an extremely exciting time for golfers at Foxhills. The course changes are going to make a big difference to the playing experience. It’s important to us that the courses are enjoyable for all levels of golfer, from low handicappers to mid-high and the masterplan for this project was designed with this at the front of our mind.”

Tej Walia, Foxhills’ general manager, said: “This is a well-deserved promotion for Sean and I am confident he will be successful in his new role. He knows Foxhills like the back of his hand and has worked incredibly hard to streamline our processes and operations to improve member and guest experience. His passion, enthusiasm and dedication to the business continues to shine through and, under his leadership, we’re excited for this next chapter of golf at Foxhills.

Alongside two 18-hole championship layouts and the Manor Course, a par-three nine-hole course, as well as a short game Practice Den and driving range, Foxhills offers an award-winning gym and HealthSpa, five swimming pools, 11 tennis courts, a packed schedule of weekly fitness classes, three restaurants and a 66-bedroom hotel.

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