Leading golf resort Close House has given its backing to a new North East venture which pledges to revolutionise the golf retail market.
The Heddon-on-the-Wall based sporting venue, owned by entrepreneur Graham Wylie, has become the first major golfing resort to install a Break90 express retail pod, an automated invention created by a new Northumberland-based business.
The machine gives golfers the chance to buy anything from green fees to golf kit, while also allowing clubs to offer a much wider range of stock than in their traditional pro shops.
The retail pod, the brainchild of Stocksfield-headquartered Break90, is accessible at all hours of the day and through the installation of the pod, golf staff at Close House are able to concentrate on providing tuition and service to members.
Established last July by entrepreneur Fiona Lutz and business partner Rob Mullen – whose previous creations include the Sweetspot range of golf snacks – Break90 has already created the 20 jobs it initially predicted, with more on the way.
Directors include Chris Holmes, chairman of agriculture, engineering and food giant Carrs Milling and former Carrs financial director Ron Wood, both of whom have invested in the business.
Now Break90 is in talks with more than 45 clubs around the UK with a view to national roll-out within the next three years.
Rob Mullen, director of Break90, said: “We are absolutely thrilled that a premium golf resort like Close House has become the first major venue to use the Break90 pod shop. Break90 is about offering a new and exciting retail experience for golfers, to provide an alternative to buying on the internet or from the big-name low-price high street retailers.
“It is fantastic that Close House has really bought into our vision.
“The reaction to Break90 has been absolutely phenomenal, and things are going at such a pace we have created the 20 jobs planned for our first year in only six months.”
John Glendinning, managing director of Close House Golf, said: “As a venue with an international reputation, we are keen to lead the way with new innovations.
“Through the installation of the Break90 pod, we can offer a new experience to our golfers, along with new levels of convenience for them. We can stock a much wider range of products than ever before, which can be changed seasonally. Our golf professionals will also be able to assign more time to doing what they do best – playing and teaching golf.
“As well as backing a local business, we firmly believe Break90 offers a credible alternative to the traditional means of golf retail and we are very pleased to be the first to install the XPS pod shop.”
Break90 has been supported legally by Newcastle law firm Sintons.
Partner Adrian Dye, who has acted for Rob Mullen for a number of years, said: “As a keen golfer myself, I can fully understand why Break90 looks set to be hugely popular with golf players and clubs alike. Rob and Fiona have addressed the main challenges in golf retail and devised an innovative solution which is now being endorsed by clubs of the calibre of Close House.”
Close House owner Graham Wylie, who also owns digital business TSG, recently announced significant investment into the venue’s golf operation, after closing the hotel for conversion into a residential house.
Among the first stage of plans is the full refurbishment of the clubhouse, which is under way.