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14th January 2011

TopGolf Addlestone starter is king of the course

George Williams

He's had a heart by-pass, a knee operation and his shoulder is a bit dodgy.

But at 84, George Williams is still the oldest golf swinger in town.

George has played Ryder Cup hero Ross Fisher, and reckons his job as course starter at TopGolf Addlestone keeps him young.

George, from Ashford, Middlesex said: "Nineteen years ago I applied for a job as an early-morning ball collector. We had to pick up every target range ball by hand. It was a horrible task.

"We used to lose around 40,000 balls a year to the mud!

"TopGolf took over the range about five years ago. They asked if I wanted to be the starter on the adjoining nine-hole course. I said as long as it wasn't muddy I didn't mind."

George still uses the bays on the range, and has watched Ross Fisher develop into a golf legend.

He went on: "Ross used to practice here and we played a few times. I remember he once said I had hit a great shot. I went to pieces after that and couldn't hit a ball.

"Ross is a great lad, before he made it big he used to hit hundreds of balls on the TopGolf range. I am so pleased he is doing well. He deserves it.

"TopGolf have changed the way golf is played. It is now a game that everyone can enjoy. You don't have to be Ernie Els to score points and it is a great laugh. 

"We have had so many great kids start out here. Most are now on the Surrey golf circuit. I am almost sure that wouldn't have happened without TopGolf.

"I do wonder how much further I would have gone with golf if I had TopGolf when I was learning. I had to practice in a field with my granddad's upturned walking stick.

"Being involved with TopGolf at the weekend is great fun. It keeps my mind ticking over and playing has helped my shoulder recover 90% of its mobility.

"I am still going strong and I have no intention of retiring. Not unless I physically can't do the job anymore."

Last year staff at TopGolf Addlestone voted to name the nine-hole course after him.

He added: "The course is now the George Williams Academy Course. It was a very proud moment for me.

"Starting is a lot of fun. I am responsible for ensuring every golfer is properly dressed and that each group is spaced out along the course.

"I know most people that play the course by first name now. If the course is busy I even announce them to the crowd before they start."

TopGolf Addlestone general manager Helen Lloyd said: "George is a complete gentleman. He loves his golf and puts a lot of effort into making TopGolf a happier and brighter place."


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