John Lawrence

The head of grounds at Edgbaston Priory Club, John Lawrence and his team are getting ready for a busy month as the world’s top tennis stars get set to play on the grass courts


I began working at the Nottingham Tennis Centre, initially as a casual member of staff. That got my foot in the door, and then I had the chance to do some grounds work in my first summer during the Nottingham Open tennis event. Aged 24 I made the move to Birmingham to take up the role of assistant grounds manager at Edgbaston Priory Club. I held that role for nearly 10 years before becoming head of grounds at the start of 2024.


I lead the grounds team that looks after the 14-acre site that makes up Edgbaston Priory Club. We have 32 tennis courts of varying surfaces, as well as large areas of managed lawns, shrub beds and borders, hedges, trees and seasonal flower displays, all of which falls under the remit of our grounds team. June is probably the busiest period, when we host the Rothesay Birmingham Classic Tennis event on our grass courts. Preparation goes on all year but it’s not unusual for our team to work 100-hour weeks for at least a month around the event.


Professionally, the relationship we have with Heart of Birmingham Vocational College (HBVC) really stands out. Eight years ago, we started working with them to provide some occasional work experience once a week on the grounds team. Now we have supported interns learning in multiple departments within the club. Based on our relationship as a club, I have ended up with the privilege of being the chair of governors for the college, which is something I find massively fulfilling.


Never ask anyone to do something you aren’t willing to do yourself. If you want people to respect you, you need to lead from the front. The easiest way to start earning that respect is to take on some of the worst jobs yourself!


I’m still relatively new in my role, so in the short-term I really want to work hard to prove my value and demonstrate what I am capable of. Aside from that, I’m very proud of the work we as a club do with HBVC. In recent years we’ve progressed our working relationship to include a satellite horticultural education provision based here at the club and I’d really love to see that grow.


Location. My partner’s family live near London, so it doesn’t take us too long to get down there when she wants to visit. I’m also not too far from Nottingham when I want to head back over there.


I do view the things I get to do with HBVC as downtime – it’s not work if you’re enjoying it! I’m also a big ice hockey fan, so I spend a lot of time travelling around to watch the Nottingham Panthers play.

The Rothesay Birmingham Classic Tennis returns to the Edgbaston Priory Club from 15 to 23 June. For more details visit