Golfing star Willey to lead new era at Bulwell Forest

IN THE SWING -- Andrew Willey
IN THE SWING -- Andrew Willey
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Golfing history-maker Andrew Willey is back in town, spearheading a fresh lease of life for one of the Dispatch district’s two courses.

Willey (38) has been appointed the new professional at Bulwell Forest Golf Club, off Hucknall Road.

And the move coincides with major changes and improvements at the historic 18-hole course over the last few months.

The clubhouse has been refurbished and the club shop has been completely re-stocked to bring Bulwell Forest -- formed way back in 1889 -- firmly into the 21st century.

The appointment of Willey is a real coup for the club. He is not only one of the best golfers to have emerged from the Hucknall and Bulwell area over the last 25 years, but he also created local history in 2004 when qualifying for the Open Championship.

The first player from the Dispatch district to make it through to the final stages, he competed alongside 1996 Open champion Tom Lehman at Royal Troon on the west coast of Scotland.

Willey missed the cut, carding an aggregate score of 14-over-par for the two rounds, but will always remember an amazing experience.

His brother David caddied for him, and a busload of fans from the Nottingham City club at Bulwell Hall cheered him on.

Willey had been attached to the Bulwell Hall club as assistant pro to his mentor, Cyril Jepson, since 1997.

He won many amateur tournaments before qualifying as a full-time pro in 2002.

The legendary Jepson first took Willey under his wing at the age of 13, so this return to Bulwell is particularly poignant for him.

He still lives locally, with wife Theresa, and is looking forward to offering Hucknall and Bulwell players a friendly and professional service in his new role.

Since that day at Royal Troon, Willey has played at courses all over the UK, Europe and the rest of the world, both on the Euro Pro Tour and then, from 2008, on the Challenge Tour, which took him to places such as China, Russia and Argentina. He has also spent time attached to the Notts Golf Club at Hollinwell in Kirkby and also to the Ramsdale Park club at Calverton and .

One of Willey’s responsibilities at Bulwell Forest is the club shop, which is now offering quality items at low prices, plus a full repair service.

He is also overseeing coaching lessons and tutoring through the club’s highly respected golf school.

It’s all part of a concerted bid to boost the image of Bulwell Forest, which is one of the most picturesque golf courses in the East Midlands.

Comnprising two par-five holes, ten par-fours and six par-threes, it is also one of the most challenging because of its narrow fairways and numerous trees.

The club’s competition season kicks off on Saturday 17th May with the Men’s Spring Open, followed by the Seniors Open for over-55s on Wednesday 21st May. Both tournaments are four-ball betterball stableford handicaps.

One of the highlights of the year, though, is the Bulwell Forest Silver Goblets Open on Saturday 16th August.

The clubhouse, known as The 19th, is a bar and restaurant, also available for functions.