THE next generation of Morpeth golfers will be able to tee off at top class facilities as major funding has been secured for an academy course.
Morpeth Golf Club has been awarded a £50,000 grant by Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Programme, which will allow it to provide year-round practice facilities.
These include a covered dry range, artificial playing surface, new putting green and chipping green, all within the existing boundary of the course. A new five-hole par three academy course will also be created to encourage youngsters and adults to take up the game.
The cheque, presented by Wansbeck MP Ian Lavery, was the only one in the first tranche of Sport England’s ‘places people play’ legacy programme to be given to a golf club.
General Manager of the club Terry Minett, who is a member of the Golf Club Managers Association National Executive Committee, said: “I always thought Morpeth was a special golf club, but the award of this funding has proven that it is unique. The support for the development of our practice/academy facilities is testament to the work started four years ago at the club to involve new people into the sport.
“I believe that they will be among, if not the best, practice facilities at any traditional members’ club in the county.
“We have had excellent support from our County Development Officer at the County Golf Partnership and the improvements will ensure we can encourage greater numbers of people to play and improve their game.”
The money will also be spent on refurbishing the ladies’ and girls’ changing facilities, as well as bettering the course drainage.
The works are another major development at the club following the purchase of the freehold by members in 2009 and the award of Golf Mark status in 2011.
Chairman Keith Davidson said: “We believe we are building a lasting legacy for future generations of golfers in the town. The club is one of the best in the county and this award helps to build on the momentum we have created.
“We hope our members and the community will be inspired to use and be proud of the new facilities.”
“To be the only golf club awarded a grant in the first round of funding is a fabulously satisfying achievement and a fantastic endorsement of our club and its passion to develop the sport.”