kkdowning Darren Clarke is the new global ambassador and attached professional at The Astbury – home of the first golf course designed by KK Downing, founding member of British heavy metal band Judas Priest.

Clarke, the 2011 Open champion, has agreed a three-year deal at the unique and modern non-members’ facility, which is located in the heart of the Severn Valley, Shropshire.

“This is a fantastic opportunity for me to be involved in the transformation of The Astbury into one of the great inland courses and all the other development aspirations they have,” said the Northern Irishman, winner of more than 20 titles worldwide.

Clarke, who will wear The Astbury’s logo on his left sleeve and attend selected events at the venue, added: “It is only going to get better and better with Kenny’s eye for detail.”

Downing, a lifelong golf fan, designed the championship layout having played some of the world’s finest courses while touring with Judas Priest, who have sold more than 40 million records globally.

“I usually let my guitar do the talking but the agreement with Darren, one of the world’s most recognisable golfers, is crucial in helping The Astbury become the international destination it deserves to be,” said West Bromwich-born Downing, who became one of the leading guitarists in the world after being mesmerised by the legendary sounds of Jimi Hendrix, John Mayall and Eric Clapton as a teenager.

“I have been totally engrossed by the project ever since I put down my plectrum and picked up a pitch mark repairer. I am determined to create the biggest, best and most futuristic spa in Britain. We are also hoping to build a Darren Clarke village along with holiday homes on the premises. It is a very exciting time in my life.”

The par-71 course was opened in 2010 and measures more than 6,500 yards. It has hosted several professional tournaments, including a PGA EUROPRO tour event which was featured on Sky Sports and will take place again in 2014.


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  • John G on

    Good for him. We hear so many stories about guys in rock ‘n roll pissing away their money on drugs/alcohol and other bad choices. It’s also nice to hear about someone with passions apart from just music. He obviously raked in some serious $$$ with Judas Priest with his publishing and touring.

  • Lee on

    Sambora quit because of Jon getting 50% plus management points, KK saw Priest music sucking and anything good getting zero airplay or sales and playing the same damn cities in smaller venues plus some bottle issues.

    • DR on

      Angel of Retribution was a great release, while Nostradamus was unbelievably bad. Very bad idea to come out with that concept album especially given the current times of the industry. KK claims he had conflicts with current management which is curious to me considering he was one of only two originals left in the band. But Halford and Tipton must’ve won out along with management when it came to the direction of the band. KK was always my favorite and I give him a shit load of credit for having the courage to call it day and get onto something else he has a passion for.

  • super bee on

    when I first saw priest in concert and kk was playing the solo in sinner I was awestruck, I have seen priest at every tour since 1980….almost, I missed turbo and painkiller but they remain my favorite metal band!

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