It was 25 years ago this month that the first shots were hit at Stonelees Golf Centre.
When the centre, between Sandwich and Ramsgate, opened in May 1994 it consisted purely of a nine-hole par-3 course. But now, a quarter of a century later, the family-run business boasts three nine-hole courses plus a driving range, golf course simulator, short game practice area and putting green.
Owner Rob Chapman, whose idea it was to convert an area of low grade farmland into a golf centre, is proud of how Stonelees has developed over the years. He said: “My vision was to create a golf centre which was affordable and accessible to all, with a virtually non-existent dress code and a relaxed, friendly atmosphere.
“When we opened the par-3 course it allowed people who had never played golf before to discover how addictive the game was without investing in a costly membership.
“Then came the official opening of the clubhouse and driving range, which meant we could offer golf tuition to all ages, and our original teaching professional David Bonthron is still with us. We also have two other PGA professionals, Gary Bason and James Prophet, and Gary runs various initiatives to encourage younger golfers to take up the sport.”
In 2010 Stonelees embarked on a clubhouse extension project which meant the existing golf shop could expand and house an “American Golf” store, as well as a function room which caters for a wide range of functions such as wedding receptions.
To celebrate their 25th anniversary Stonelees are offering “A Free Membership A Day” prize every day from May 20-26, worth £620. For more details see the centre’s website at www.stonelees.comor call 01843 823133, or email firstname.lastname@example.org