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GolfMark success for Northumberland club
October 3, 2011

Rothbury Golf Club is putting the local community at the heart of its plans for the future - and their efforts have now received national recognition.

The club is the latest to be awarded GolfMark in Northumberland, a national seal of approval for clubs with a child-friendly approach.

Rothbury takes youngsters from the age of five upwards, running a special 'pre-members' group to encourage children to start early.

But as well as its golfing endeavours, the clubhouse is at the hub of the local community, playing host to a wide range of activities from family events to meetings of the area's accordion group, for example.

The club was established in 1891, but in 2007 it moved to a new clubhouse and an 18 hole course.

Situated close to the village of Rothbury and the National Trust's Cragside House, the course's setting offers spectacular views of the Coquet Valley with the Cheviot Hills and Cragside in the distance, the nearby Simonside Hills and the village itself while the River Coquet meanders alongside.

Junior organiser Val Hope, who has been the club's driving force towards Golf Mark, says: "I am very proud for Rothbury GC and its members as we have achieved a tremendous amount from our start as a nine hole club to our successful move to a new location and 18 holes.

"We are a central part of the community and this award has only been achieved through the co-operation of many people."

The youngest group is looked after by Eileen Clark and includes teaching the importance of discipline and etiquette. She comments: "The junior programmes are great. They allow progression for the youngsters."

The junior coaching at Rothbury takes place on either a Thursday (5pm-7pm, 5-7 years old, £1.50 per session) or a Monday for club juniors (5pm-7pm).

If anyone is interested in taking part they should contact Val Hope (email:, phone: 01669 621 271).

The weekly sessions are led by Val and Eileen and have become a team effort with parents helping out. A number of these are now trying golf for themselves by taking advantage of the free taster sessions funded by the Northumberland County Golf Partnership.

The club are now looking to add more regular coaching sessions with PGA Professional David Clark.

Lisa Ferrie, county development officer for the Northumberland County Golf Partnership, says: "Val Hope is very modest but her friends at Rothbury have told me how very proud they are of her efforts. She is full of enthusiasm and along with the other members I have met, they are working tirelessly for the greater good of their club.

"They are a rural club but are very forward thinking in their approach to their club and facility. The clubhouse is used by many organisations and is a central hub for many activities and events.

"They understand the importance of making their clubhouse pay and have realised that their income can no longer rely on the golf course alone. I hope that this GolfMark award will help them to continue to move the club forward and to enable them to attract more people to participate in golf."

Thomson Bathgate, the club's chairman and secretary, adds: "The club is very pleased to have achieved GolfMark, it has been down to the hard work of one or two people within the club and as the club chairman I appreciate all of their effort.

"Golfmark shows certain standards and I hope that this will entice more people to come and visit our club and try golf."

Lady Captain Mary Tully adds: "GolfMark is a great benefit to the club. The junior programme has been bringing families into the club with great success, it is lovely to see the progression."

GolfMark is a national scheme that incorporates ClubMark and recognises junior and beginner friendly golf facilities that focus on Coaching and Playing, Club Environment and Child Protection, and Duty of Care, all of which are extremely important to parents and children alike.

GolfMark is an initiative jointly provided by the EGU and EWGA via the England Golf Partnership's 'Whole Sport Plan' for golf and is an integral part of the England Golf Partnership's vision to 'Grow the Game'.

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.

In Northumberland the partnership is supported by the Northumberland Union of Golf Clubs, the Northumberland Ladies County Golf Association, the Northumberland Junior Golfing Association and the Professional Golfers' Association.

For more details of the activities in Northumberland visit

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