This month Lynne Edwards heads to the hills at West Hove golf course with fair-weather golfers Ashley Hunt, assistant regional manager, and his colleagues from King & Chasemore, Hove.
The course at West Hove has the remarkable record to have only closed on one occasion during the last 10 years due to bad weather – they even have their own snow plough! If you play golf as regularly as I do, you’ll know that this is unusual. It is traditionally the time of year that you prepare to play in some mud and happily tear up the score card. So when I asked Ashley, and regional manager Tom Middleton and Jack Taggart, Senior Sales manager to play golf recently, we needed somewhere playable but also near to their Hove base. West Hove was perfect, located as it is near the A27 at Portslade and being nicely matured now with some brilliant tight fairways, tricky approaches and delicious greens. The greens are generous and in amazing condition, considering the recent deluge.
Despite it’s location we were only disturbed by some noisy mooing cows, and the horn from a hunt galloping across the horizon, which was a first for me on a golf course.
Ashley, Jack and Tom are all good golfers but luckily I had my A game on, and it was also fortunate for me that after some initial squabbling they all finally decided to play off the white tees. Ashley has played golf since he was a boy becoming a scratch golfer until a recent rugby injury, so both he and Tom often bravely went for the blind greens on some of the slight dog leg tough par 4 holes. This was not always the best strategy of course, particularly when their balls went out of sight into the rough, which was fair, but enough of a deterrent. The 298 yard par 4th is a particular challenge with an uphill drive, that also requires a precise second shot to the green, and the long par 5, 5th always feels at least100 yards longer than on the score card.
Using the buggies, provided an opportunity to chat to them about their business. They are all highly experienced sales professionals having worked in this and other agencies locally for many years. I remarked that it appeared to be a very friendly office, and I now understand that indeed retaining staff is a high priority and that it is one of few agents now who provide in house training to City & Guilds standard, ongoing support and promotion opportunities.
I noticed that Tom had a newly acquired moustache.
Tom: Yes it is Movember and throughout the offices of K & C we hope to raise over £3k before Christmas just from the Kent offices alone for the testicular charity. In fact we aim to do a lot of fund raising next year for Cancer Research and also local community projects which we are announcing soon. I was curious to know what they thought made K & C different from other local estate agency firms.
Tom & Ashley: We have 6 branches just in the Brighton area and over 100 offices nationwide. Most people don’t realise we have 14 of these offices just in London – under the brand name of John D Wood. As all the offices are linked, this gives us a unique opportunity to tap into prospective buyers from London. Indeed we share leads and pass business to other offices throughout the network all the time, and this exposure is almost unbeatable for a prospective vendor.
Tom: We also have a strong Lettings dept having recently acquired Tingleys in Hove, a Land & New Homes division. K & C have recently also acquired Lambert Smith & Hampton a well known commercial agency. With Sotheby’s also under the King & Chasemore umbrella, it makes up an impressive range of property expertise within one company.
Q. So what about the Hove office Jack, it’s got a pretty enviable location in Church Road
Jack: Yes, and we are shortly undergoing a major refurbishment programme, so we’ll soon look even better! We think it is important to invest in offices as this is still where most of our business is done.
Tom & Jack: We are regularly looking at ways of improving our brand and image, and hopefully Absolute Homes will help with this process. We believe the internet is a vital part of what we can offer a vendor, but magazine advertising is also still important to show prospective clients how we are different, and that we can market property from a lot of different platforms for maximum effect.
Q. And is the property market as buoyant as everyone says
Ashley: Absolutely yes. We are fortunate to be working in this area which is always busy, but we always require good property stock, so are continually looking at new ways to encourage people to seek our advice about selling.
We were coming to the end of our round and the 18th hole at West Hove which they claim to be the longest par 5 in Sussex if not the country. It also felt like it for the 4 of us, and I in particular had used up all my good shots by then, and dropped some points here.
Although Tom lost a few balls he somehow still managed to score 35 points, which tied with me.
Ashley and Jack who were both very impressive low handicappers were not far behind.
As the sun was still shining over the hills, we retired to the club house and enjoyed a lovely lunch, which as always was quick and beautifully prepared by the friendly staff. The club house is huge and regularly caters for weddings and large functions for golfing societies.
The club also holds roll up lessons, or one to one golf pro teaching, and has a fabulous driving range open to the public, so there’s no excuse for not dashing out of the office at lunchtime in the winter to brush up on your golf – just in case I come calling. Then you’ll be ready!
If you’re a property professional and fancy a game and chat about your business, then email firstname.lastname@example.org
West Hove Golf Club, Badgers way, Hangleton, Hove BN3 8eX.
Tel 01273 419738
King & Chasemore, 20 Church Road, Hove, Tel 01273 206107