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Durham University News

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Business School helps local golf club 'putt' competition in the shade

(13 February 2006)

It’s official, Hunley Hall Golf Club, Brotton near Saltburn-by-the-Sea is one of the Top 5 golf clubs in the country thanks to some expert advice from Durham Business School.

Sisters, Jo Askew and Liz Lillie are celebrating after they beat off fierce competition from over 800 contenders to make the final five of the prestigious Club Mirror Awards. The Awards are in place to reward excellence within the club sector and represents all types of licensed facilities, ranging from social entertainment to sport and fitness clubs. Hunley Hall is a 27-hole golf course with a driving range, restaurant and bar. It was set up by the sisters’ parents 12 years ago, in a bid to diversify from farming. After recognising that by improving their management skills they could turn their ideas for developing the family business into a reality, the sisters enlisted the help of Durham Business School’s Strategic Development programme. The programme is designed to help owners and managers of small and medium sized businesses improve their management skills, while exploring and implementing their ideas for the future in a practical way. Delighted to have both Hunley Hall and their efforts to develop the business recognised by the industry, co-owner Jo Askew, said: "This is great news for the Club and everyone who uses it. We are unique to the area in that you do not have to be a member to use the facilities here. "People are very loyal and many have been visiting the Club since it was founded. The Business School has been instrumental in helping us to get the most from the business and has made us much more focused ensuring that our members and guests have a first class experience." Now Jo and sister Liz are in the midst of an ambitious £500,000 expansion plan due to finish in April. They are adding a further 20 bedrooms, ten superior bedrooms will have views of the golf course and the coastline with a further ten standard bedrooms having garden views. Commenting on the Strategic Development programme, Liz said: "Working with the Business School has made us more confident about the future and the way we manage the business. To be ranked among the Top five golf clubs in the country by Club Mirror is very rewarding and a testament to all our hard work." Jeremy Wright, programme manager at the Business School, said: "I’d like to congratulate Jo and Liz on their achievement, I’m delighted that the Business School has been able to help them get the results they were seeking. They have improved the way they manage and run their business and hopefully this will be the first of many land mark achievements for Hunley Hall."

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