Friday, November 25, 2011


Gleneagles Hotel's top brass have promoted an Englishman, Andrew Jowett, originally from Oldham, from within its golf academy staff to succeed a Scot, Russell Smith, as head PGA professional at the five-star Perthshire resort which will host the next Ryder Cup in this country in 2014.
Andrew Jowett was an assistant professional at Ashton-under-Lyne Golf Club, Lancashire before securing his first head pro post at Dukinfield Golf Club, Cheshire. He then moved to Gleneagles where he has been senior teaching professional.
Russell Smith was in his 10th year on the Gleneagles staff, having joined them in 2002 and worked his way up the ladder to take over from Sandy Smith as head pro.
Russell Smith has been headhunted to become the director of golf at Close Hotel and Golf Club, Northumberland. He will leave his Perthshire post early next month (December) and take up his new duties in January at Close Hotel, which is a 15min drive from Newcastle's airport and also its city centre.
Said Bernard Murphy, General Manager of the Diageo Plc-owned Gleneagles Hotel, which has three golf courses across 850 acres of Perthshire countryside:
“Russell has developed a very strong team within the golf operation at Gleneagles and we are delighted to be able to announce that Andrew Jowett will assume the role of head golf professional upon Russell’s departure.
“Andrew worked for some time at the Gleneagles PGA National Academy with Russell, so we know that the good work done to date will be further developed as we turn our attention toward the Ryder Cup in 2014 and beyond.
“On the one hand, we are sorry to see Russell leave but, on the other, we are delighted that he has such an opportunity ahead of him.”
Close House Hotel, a beautifully restored 18th Century mansion with views across the Tyne Valley, is owned by Graham Wylie, an entrepreneur and well-known racehorse owner, and has world No 3 Lee Westwood, as its tour professional. It has two 18-hole golf courses.
“Gleneagles is a fantastic place and I will be vexed to go, but this move is about developing my career and also challenging myself,” said Smith, a 39-year-old who was runner-up in the 1998 Luxemburg Open.
“I will be reponsible for growing the golf side of things at Close House and am looking forward to getting started there in early January.”
Said Graham Wylie, a Tyneside tycoon who has made a personal fortune by founding a software giant, Sage:
"It’s no secret that I am looking to make further enhancements to what we offer at Close House to ensure we become the number one golf destination in the North of England.
"The appointment of Russell Smith from Gleneagles is a major coup for Close House.. There is no doubt that his experience in running an extremely high profile, large golf club will perfectly complement General Manager John Glendinning’s experience.
"John has worked hard to bring to fruition the completion of the state of the art glass clubhouse (No 19), a championship Colt Course, cutting edge golf academy and driving range, all launched in May this year.
"Their combined skills, enthusiasm and experience will take Close House to the position of top golf venue in the North of England. Our heavyweight team, steeped in golf, combined with the appointment of Lee Westwood as our attached Tour Professional earlier this year, gives Close House a truly unique edge across the UK and beyond.
"I intend to make Close House the best golf club in the North of England and one where everyone will want to be a member. I’m delighted that our membership continues to increase at a fast pace."

+Picture shows Graham Wylie and his wife Andrea

*Sage, founded by Mr Wylie, is a leading supplier of business management software and services to more than 6 million customers worldwide. .



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