Thu, 02 Aug 2018
TIM Butler is aiming to keep people’s dreams of one day becoming a golf professional alive by reinvigorating the driving range at Newbury Racecourse.
Previously owned by Newbury & Crookham Golf Club, Butler took over the range two years ago with the idea of improving interest of the sport in Newbury.
“It is a place where I want people to come and enjoy themselves,” Butler said.
He took an interest in the sport as it allowed him to have fun with his father and brother.
“They were both good players and I wanted to spend more time with them,” he said.
Having spent his life on the golf course, which included success in various championships in Newbury, Butler moved to the US for his university degree and a golf scholarship when he was 19.
Speaking about the experience, he said: “I did very well on the scholarship.
“They had this thing called the ‘All American’ where you had to finish within the top 15 of the nation and fortunately I achieved that in my last year.
“After years away, I moved back to England when I was 30, played professionally for six years and had reasonable success.”
Since returning, Butler has spent the last 12 years teaching golf at a number of schools within the local area.
Horris Hill boarding school in Newtown, is one of the schools where Butler teaches golf, spending time with five or six pupils and giving them guidance about the sport.
As well as teaching children at St Bart’s and Mary Hare, Butler also teaches people on a one-to-one basis.
The driving range is one of the places that Butler hopes can attract attention and to help with that, he has purchased a double-decker bus and converted it into his clubhouse.
“It’s been a long process, but I am slowly building it up,” Butler said.
“I am trying to make it somewhere that the people of Newbury can come and have a good time.
“I love it because it brings life to the place and it makes it worthwhile.”
The newly-converted bus has been on the driving range site for a couple of weeks and can be used by people taking advantage of the facilities.
Just £2 can buy you 40 balls to use on the range and it can be accessed every day as racecourse security open the gate at sunrise and shut it at sunset.
Butler believes that it can become one of the best hangouts in Newbury for those who have an interest in the sport.
He said: “I’m keeping my dreams alive, but also other people’s dreams in Newbury too and without it they wouldn’t really have anywhere to go.”