MORPETH Golf Club has been rewarded for its major efforts to create an excellent environment for its junior golfers.
It has become the 11th club in Northumberland to receive the GolfMark award.
The club has seen its junior numbers grow over the past five years through its Thursday night group, which gives youngsters the chance to develop their game by playing three and five holes on the course, before they progress to the full junior section.
Parents play an active role either as volunteers, taking up the sport themselves, or as social members.
Junior Organiser Christine Oliver, who has completed her PGA Level 1 course to help assistant club professional Steven Fawcitt in the delivery of sessions, said: “The courses that we all had to attend during the accreditation process are beneficial to the parents, children and volunteers as it guarantees a safe environment for everyone involved.”
Marcus Chisholm, Junior Development Chairman, praised the contribution of the club’s hard-working team.
“Christine Oliver is the backbone of the Thursday night club and has been the driving force,” he said.
“She has been well supported by two great assistants, Kathleen Lamb and Jimmy Allison. It is incredible what they have achieved.
“The junior committee were supported by the club board and the club are very pleased and proud to gain this award.”
Morpeth are already seeing their efforts pay off as a number of juniors from the Thursday night programme featured in last year’s Northumberland Junior Golf Tour, with several of the girls qualifying to represent the county in a match against Durham.
Group members wear brightly coloured club-crested hoodies with their names on.
Junior player Kiri-Mae Lamb said: “It’s really good fun. I have met lots of new friends. It is nice that the adults had listened to the juniors about uniform.”
Graham Sorrie, whose seven-year-old son Ed and 12-year-old daughter Harriet are both club members, said: “It is a terrific programme as the children get to practice all areas of the game.
“The Thursday night activity gets the children interested in golf, especially girls.”
GolfMark is a national scheme that incorporates ClubMark and recognises junior and beginner friendly golf facilities that focus on ‘Coaching and Playing’, ‘Club Environment, ‘Child Protection’ and ‘Duty of Care’.
Lisa Ferrie, County Development Officer for the Northumberland County Golf Partnership, said: “Morpeth has worked very hard over the last year to gain its GolfMark accreditation.
“It is very obvious when you are at the club during its sessions that there is a great family environment and that the club is benefiting from the energy of the youngsters.”
The Northumberland County Golf Partnership is a collaboration of a number of stakeholders in the sport including the English Golf Union, The English Women’s Golf Association, the PGA, the Golf Foundation and Sport England.
For more information about its work, visit www.northumberlandcgp.co.uk