One of Crown Sports Lockers’ earliest golf changing room fitouts has stylishly stood the test of time, 25 years after the new facilities put West Kent Golf Club on a fresh footing.
The pillars of ‘etiquette, courtesy and friendship’ form the foundations of this characerful club, its website proudly proclaims.
Founded in 1916, this private members club is set in a wonderful rural aspect between Downe Village and Down House, where English naturalist, geologist and biologist Charles Darwin spent much of his life.
Its setting within three valleys gives West Kent a great natural advantage, with the clubhouse overlooking the rolling fairways of a 6,427-yard 18-hole woodland, parkland and downland course that challenges golfers of all abilities.
Twenty five years ago, the England Golf GolfMark club was planning ahead to help ensure it provided the quality of provision members would demand indoors and out over the coming generation.
Today, this thriving community hub is not only riding out the difficult environment golf faces but is also attracting new members across all age groups to now total more than 500.
West Kent’s three-strong Academy teaching team, run by golf professional Simon Islef, is bringing on talented young players to help ensure the club attracts new blood.
At the other end of the age demographic, it offers deep discounts for octogenarian members who have clocked up 25 years’ continuous service.
Back in 1993, West Kent faced a dilemma, recalls longstanding member Peter Robinson. “Did we demolish the existing clubhouse and build a new one at a cost of £650,000 or refurbish it under a £400,000 project?
“Rebuilding was a bridge too far,” he says, “so we chose to extend the clubhouse, adding another floor, housing offices, and transforming our male and female changing rooms.”
On the basis that `If you want a job doing ask a busy person` the club asked then Men’s Captain and council member Peter to head the changing room upgrade. “I was active in financial services and a company board member at the time but accepted the challenge and proceeded to source locker suppliers.”
The existing steel lockers had become “a bit of an embarrassment”, Peter adds – old steel lockers and keys bent and lodged in locks.
“I visited several clubs and drilled down to two providers, one of which was Crown Sports Lockers, and asked them to tender for the work. Crown won the work on cost-effectiveness and quality and I feel our decision has proved wholly justified. The changing rooms are still in fine working order and we have added lockers over the years to expand our provision.”
He continues: “Clubs seeking to improve their changing rooms have come to us over the years to look at ours and have gone away well impressed with what we have here.”
When approached by the committee to buy into a long-term locker rental scheme linked to subscriptions to part-fund the development, members quickly responded to support the venture. “The scheme was fully subscribed
and we moved forward,” Peter states.
Locker lifespans in golf are expected to extend way beyond those for wet changing environments such as health and fitness clubs and spas.
The fact that West Kent’s changing provision is still going strong is no surprise then, especially given the quality of Crown’s products and installation.
That they still look stylish a generation after fitout adds another dimension to the importance of specifying the right products from the right specialist manufacturer and installer.