Mach Dunes general manager’s final round

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A PGA professional and resort general manager who swapped the greens of Arizona for Machrihanish has returned to his roots after nearly a decade.

Last Tuesday, American Kevin Lewis, 63, officially handed the reins as Mach Dunes general manager to Andrew Hogan, 40, who joined Southworth in June 2012 as front-of-house manager.

Speaking about his time in Kintyre, Mr Lewis said he would miss the weather’s variability. He explained that after a quarter of a century operating golf resorts in the desert sometimes the sun’s unending reliability became monotonous.

‘It has been extremely satisfying to me as the first American on the ground to see how Mach Dunes has moved,’ said Mr Lewis. ‘It has been exciting and heart warming and something I will treasure in my memories.

‘I have been here most of the last 10 years. I came in 2008 and Southworth officially took over in February 2009. We finished the cottages at Machrihanish, remodelled the Old Clubhouse, completed Mach Dunes and started looking at the hotels in 2010.

‘It is possible I will return but not to oversee the management.’

Mr Hogan had a varied career until moving to Kintyre, including nearly six years on P&O cruise liners and spells with Standard Life and Handpicked Hotels.

He first came to Kintyre when his sister, Alison Blundell, who runs North East events gained the contract to reopen the Ugadale following Southworth’s renovation.

‘I did not know anything about the area,’ said Mr Hogan, ‘My sister told me it’s just past Glasgow!’

‘With any job I strive to do the best I can. When Kevin initially phoned me it was out of the blue and he asked: ‘What it would take to get you here?’

In June, it will be six years since Mr Hogan arrived and later this year his four-year-old moves from Dalintober ELC to the primary.

Mr Hogan said: ‘Before I came to Kintyre I moved round a lot, I was not really a home bird.’

He added: ‘One of the great features of Campbeltown is staff retention it is better than anywhere else in Scotland.

‘We have a great core team with about 80 people working in the winter, going up to more than 100 at peak season.

‘I am passionate about what we do here. Golf and whisky will always be important but Kintyre has so much to offer.’

Mr Lewis added: ‘I like Campbeltown because it is a small town where everybody knows each other and people get behind initiatives and provide support.’