Edward Richardson, the chief executive of golf club operator Get Golfing and one of England’s most talented amateur golfers, has died suddenly at the age of 55.
In a statement published on Golf Golfing’s LinkedIn page, a spokesperson for Get Golfing wrote: “It is with the deepest regret that we have to inform you that our CEO, Edward Richardson, passed away on Friday 17th November. This has come as a great shock and our thoughts are with his family and friends at this most difficult time.
“Ed truly loved the game of golf and everything it stands for, his unrivalled passion, dedication and determination was inspiring for all that he touched. Many of us owe him a great deal. He leaves a massive hole in our hearts, but an unshakeable desire to fulfil his legacy. As Ed said many times, Get Golfing is owned by the golfing gods and he now joins them.”
After attending the University of Central Florida and Michigan State University, Richardson graduated in 1993 with a degree in Turfgrass Management. A talented golfer in both the professional and amateur ranks, Richardson reached a high of 35th in the World Amateur Ranking and won 15 amateur tournaments between 2005-8. After a short stint in the professional ranks he re-joined the amateur circuit and won countless county and national tournaments, and represented England’s golf team in numerous events, most recently playing a starring role in England’s victory at the European Senior Internationals in September.
Always a champion of the game, Richardson set up Get Golfing in 2018 with the aim of increasing participation, bettering local communities and enriching the lives of staff and customers. At the time of his death, Get Golfing operates a portfolio of 12 clubs, including Hampton Court Palace, North Downs, Pyrford, Sherfield Oaks, Arkley, Ansty, Warley Park, and the most recent addition Cobtree Manor, which joined the group this autumn.
Since taking over Redlibbets Golf Club in Sevenoaks five years ago, Richardson oversaw Get Golfing’s growth into one of the largest golf operators in the UK, with over 500 staff and annual revenues of £20m, and surpluses of around £3 million. These surpluses are reinvested back into the venues, staff development, and community initiatives, aligning with their overall charitable objectives.
As part of its initiative to encourage greater participation, Get Golfing offers free membership to juniors at all of its sites. Currently, over 1,300 children play free of charge at their venues. Under Richardson’s stewardship, the charity also developed a dedicated community team to spearhead key initiatives. One such initiative is the Free School Meals programme, which targets children who may not have had the opportunity to experience golf before. Through this free-of-charge programme, all participants throughout the year enjoy a safe environment, eat well, and experience a whole host of activities that includes golf.
Among the many friends and colleagues to pay tribute to Richardson was Lee Williams, general manager of Pyrford Lakes Golf Club, one of Get Golfing’s recent acquisitions. He wrote: “There are very few people you meet in life who can stand tall and be recognised and respected by their peers for accomplishing so much in life and a profession. Ed had a gift to motivate and drive those around him that was only match by his passion for family and golf. Hundreds of people joined Get Golfing to be part of Ed’s vision and thousands more will continue his legacy for many years to come.”