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GolfMark award for Eaglescliffe Golf Club
October 20, 2011

A Durham golf club is celebrating national recognition for its child-friendly approach - and is now planning to share its success with the local community.

Eaglescliffe Golf Club has been awarded GolfMark, an official seal of approval that recognises the junior and beginner friendly facilities which play a major role in the development of golf.

And as part of its development plan, the club, which is based just one mile north of the village of Yarm, will now be building stronger links with local schools.

A special junior handbook has been produced which makes it even easier for parents and children to become involved in the club.

It is planned to circulate this to schools in the area to highlight what is on offer at a club that has long been a staunch supporter of junior golf.

Explains junior organiser Geoff Snowden: "The handbook introduces the club to parents and children, outlines what we have to offer, who to contact as well as explaining things like the handicap system, course etiquette and the junior competitions. It is also a way for parents to understand what is expected of them if they become involved in the club."

The club already offers a sliding scale of membership fees - from the age of eight up to 25 years-old intermediate members - to encourage more younger players to join, while it holds regular junior coaching with professional Graham Bell.

Taster sessions have also been held for girls while one of the schools the club is hoping to work more closely with is its neighbour Teeside High School.

The junior programme has proved highly successful over the years with the club being crowned Durham county champions in 2010. The better junior players are also encouraged to take up any spare places in the adult competitions.

Adds Geoff Snowden: "We feel it is a good way to integrate them into the club and for them to get to know more of the older members."

Now it is hoped that the GolfMark accolade, which recognises the club's coaching work and duty of care policies, will allow the club to build on the strong roots they have established.

Says Geoff Snowden: "GolfMark will offer parents the reassurance that when they drop off their children at the club they will be cared for in the right way.

"It is also virtually a pre-requisite these days to attract funding to allow us to offer a coaching programme that enables more people to take up golf.

"I would like to thank everyone at the club who has been involved in the GolfMark process for their support."

Jonathan Ward, county development officer for the Durham County Golf Partnership, says: "Eaglescliffe have shown the kind of proactive approach that is needed to protect the future of not only the sport, but also the clubs themselves by building a sustainable membership.

"They have a strong reputation for junior golf and GolfMark only serves to highlight the excellent work being carried out at the club, while providing parents with an official seal of approval for the standard of care their children will receive.

"Eaglescliffe have shown their determination to use GolfMark as a springboard towards building even stronger links in their local community."

Eaglescliffe are the ninth club in county Durham to be awarded GolfMark after a year in which both Houghton le Spring and Beamish Park have also achieved national recognition.

Adds Jonathan Ward: "Clubs appreciate the benefits that GolfMark can bring and that all their hard work in attaining the award is well worth it in the long run. Several development funding opportunities are now only available to GolfMark clubs which makes the achievement even more valuable."

Eaglescliffe was originally formed in 1914 as a 13-hole course, but moved to its present site in 1928 with an 18 hole James Braid course that was so long the par was 77.

Golf course land was lost to the growing of crops as part of the War effort and it was not until 1968 that Eaglescliffe was fully restored to a par 72, 18-hole course.

More information on Eaglescliffe Golf Club is available on the website at or by ringing 01642 780238.

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