James Verrall always wanted to run a family business. His grandfather and father together owned the restaurant at nearby Beech Hurst Garden for many years and he’d seen fist-hand the benefits of that experience. Nw newly married James & Carla are creating a business of their own at Haywards Heath Golf Club.
The story starts right at the beginning, with the pair being born just four days apart in the former Cuckfield Hospital. They were introduced by a mutual friend in 2011 and James told his friends the next day: “I’ve met my wife!”. James and Carla were married in Barcombe last year.
Carla is a ‘local girl’ and a beauty therapist by trade, but has also worked as a carer and most recently as an estate agent with Mark Revill in Lindfield.
James also grew up in the area and was always into sport playing both football and cricket. Nine year old James was introduced to golf by his grandfather, who still lives in Lindfield, and he soon had o choose which sport to focus on. He began working for a local golf club as a teenager on Saturdays but it became clear that professional golf was all he wanted to do.
James completed his PGA (Professional Golf Association) degree from the PGA National Golf Academy at The Belfry at the age of 24, and he took up the position as head professional at Haywards Heath Golf Club (HHGC) nearly three years ago.
However, in January the couple made a brave move; they decided to work together to own and run the golf pro shop at HHGC.
“This is James’ dream,” Carla commented. “It’s what he’s always wanted to do.” Since January much has changed in the pro shop, including a total refurbishment (inside and out) and major refresh of the stock carried. James says: “For me it’s about making every customer feeling valued and taking pride in my work. That means the little things as well as the big ones.” For instance, there’s always a tube of sun cream freely available in the shop to golfers who’ve forgotten their own. Little things that make a big difference.
The shop is one of the largest golf retailers in the area, and they have many customers from across Sussex, not just Lindfield, whee the shop is based. Carla has brought in new clothing lines to the store, and they now boast an impressive range of both men’s and ladies’ golf wear. The couple’s goal is to become the destination for golfers across the south who want great choice and superb customer service.
The pro shop is very much a partnership with Haywards Heath Golf Club itself, with James being just the fifth golf pro in the club’s 94 year history. “The members have been so welcoming since I joined, and we both really feel like part of a larger family here,” Carla said.
The couple will continue to improve the reach and remit of the pro shop, which, of course, also boasts an excellent golf coaching programme for all ages and abilities - including working with six local schools, Lindfield Primary Academy being one of them
A new website has just been launched - www.jamesverrallgolf.com, they are hosting a Free TaylorMade Trial Day on Tuesday 2nd August for all golfers, and the new autumn/winter range of golf fashion will be in store next month.
Pop down to the shop (open 7.30am-6pm every day) or call 01444 414866 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about golf teaching or booking on to the Trial Day event. There will certainly be a warm, family welcome in store!