Winchester Golf Academy - our history and philosophy

The story so far

As with many stories, knowing where to begin is rather tricky. The Browne family have farmed the land known as Down Farm for several generations. Simon took over the farm in 1980.

Farming is an unpredicable business, and being an entrepeneurial sort of chap Simon was soon looking for ways to diversify the farm's revenue streams. One of the earliest projects was the construction of the equestrian hunter-trial course which eventually became Three Maids Chasers, and was our first foray into the leisure industry. Down Farm is also home to one of the UK's best moto-cross tracks, Route 34 MotoPark.

Simon and his wife Katie are both keen golfers, and one idea that they looked into in the 1990s was the construction of a golf course. For a number of reasons this idea never came to fruition, but the desire to move into the golf business never went away.

Fast forward to 2010. Katie was trying to improve her game and booked herself a lesson with a golf pro named Emma McBride. The details of what exactly happened at this first meeting are hard to come by, but the two ladies obviously hit it off. Before long they were going on early-morning runs and sharing evening drinks. Simon had a lesson with Emma's fiancé Gary Booth (now her husband)

As the friendship developed Simon and Katie learned of Gary and Emma's ambition to open a golf academy, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Our philosophy

Winchester Golf Academy has family at its heart. Not only is it a collaboration between Simon, Katie, Gary and Emma, but the Browne's grown-up kids are also involved in the project in various ways, as is Gary's sister Danielle.

This informs the way we think about the services and facilities which we provide, which are all designed to be as inclusive as possible. Gary and Emma are passionate about increasing participation in the game that they have dedicated their working lives to, and are keen to everyone from the tiny tots to grandparents learning and improving their golf.

To this end we run regular group lessons specifically for ladies, seniors, beginners and improvers, at very reasonable rates. We also run several junior groups, and have programmed lessons for parents which run concurrently with the junior classes.

We have also put a great deal of thought into our Bistro, which will make the perfect place for the non-golfer to relax with a coffee, beer or a glass of wine while watching the golfers, as well as a great place for the whole family to enjoy a meal.

It is vitally important to us that Winchester Golf Academy is a warm and friendly place to learn and practice, and we look forward to welcoming you and your family to our fantastic facility.