Meet the Golf Pro Series:  Robert Ashbrook, shaping the next golf generation at Hill Valley

Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa in Shropshire - golf pro, Robert Ashbrook

In the first of our new “meet the Pro” series we spoke to Robert Ashbrook from Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa in Shropshire

Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa has celebrated a bumper year for junior golfers as it continues to invest in its youth engagement program. The growth of junior membership has been driven by PGA Advanced Professional Rob Ashbrook.

Rob is Head Golf Pro at Macdonald Hill Valley Golf Club and one of the region’s most qualified golf coaches. He first started working in the Professional shop at Hill Valley Golf Club when he was 19 years old before embarking on his PGA training. He now lives beside the sixth green on the course and became Head Golf Pro in 2018

Robert Ashbrook – a typical golf pro’s day

Rob Ashbrook is an early riser, awake at 5am like clockwork and onsite at Hill Valley by 7am most days to walk the course, with his dog Bob, unless he’s coaching at the local school or college.

Rob offers weekly coaching and has established an effective school outreach program as he strives to challenge stereotypes that golf isn’t a young person’s sport. He believes it has multiple benefits from health and exercise to communication and friendships.

Robert Ashcroft from Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa in Shropshire
Robert Ashcroft from Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa in Shropshire

Rob doesn’t get much time to play himself but he feels a great sense of pride in seeing young people thrive and the smile on their faces when they’ve made a good shot after hours of practice. Juniors are also provided with access to a range of competitions for all standards including adult fixtures to further hone their skills.

Rob’s dog Bob, a 10-month-old border collie, is fast becoming the unofficial Hill Valley mascot. He goes everywhere with Rob, from inspecting the greens in the morning to relaxing in the pro shop in the afternoon. He’s also quite a hit with the kids.

Amidst the coaching, outreach and paperwork, Rob likes to stay active and is currently training for a coast to coast bike ride for the Charity FAIR. He will take on 160 miles in two days during a cross-country coast to coast in May.

Recent junior success

Some of the club’s recent success stories include junior captain Lauren Crump. Last year the 13-year-old reduced her handicap to +3, won the R&A Under 14s Championship and finished fourth in the R&A Under 16s Championship, the highest placed finish for an English female. She then went on to win the Shropshire and Herefordshire Ladies Championship, breaking the course record at The Wrekin Golf Club.

Lauren reached the final eight in the English Under 18s Championships and performed amazingly in the Ladies British Open qualifying round at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club, narrowly missing out on qualifying. Lauren also broke the Ladies course record at Hill Valley with a gross 67, 6 under par. She flies out to represent England against Spain this month.

Lauren’s sister Lucy has also had a great year, and now has her sights on the Hill Valley record. She won the Shropshire and Herefordshire Handicap Championships and represented the county in the Under 14s, Under 16s and Under 18s age groups. 

In the boys’ junior competitions, both Marcus Wildblood and Will Aston-Stott represented the County in their various age groups. Charlie Boys won both the Spring Cup and the Shropshire and Herefordshire Boys Championships and even received an England regional squad call up in October.

Let’s not forget the under 11s, as the youngest juniors at Hill Valley generated great results in the County PeeWee tour.

Hill Valley Course at Sunset
Hill Valley Course at Sunset

About Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa and the area.

A relaxed country club ambience and stylish modern interiors, Macdonald Hill Valley Hotel, Golf & Spa is located amidst acres of rolling hills in the heart of Shropshire.

Conveniently close to the historic town of Whitchurch with an abundance of independent shops, cafes and peaceful walks for all the family. Whitchurch is home to Rob’s son and daughter’s store MOO and BOOM and JB and BOOM, an award winning and BCorp Certified sustainable lifestyle store and café.

Designed by TV golfing stars Peter Alliss and Dave Thomas in 1975, Hill Valley’s 18-hole Emerald and Sapphire golf courses make it one of the leading golf venues in the UK. The Emerald course is thought to be Shropshire’s hidden gem, presenting a formidable test to even the most seasoned of golfers. Its sister course, The Sapphire, is shorter in length making it the perfect place for beginner golfers to hone their skills.

A Green at the Respected Hill Valley Course
A shot of the green from the respected Hill Valley Golf Course

Hill Valley currently has 30 junior members with a further 40 academy junior members who receive regular coaching on the pathway to full membership. For 2024, the club is offering free membership for new juniors aged 5-18 looking to take up the sport with every paying adult member this year.

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