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Award for Staffordshire golf team
April 7, 2011

Staffordshire's newest golf coaching team is celebrating national recognition for their efforts - just months after opening.

The Golf Academy, based at The Range, in Essington, and Greenfield Golf Club near Wolverhampton, only launched in November last year.

But it has already been awarded RangeMark - a national award for driving ranges at the forefront of developing the game which identifies and acknowledges junior and beginner-friendly golf facilities.

The Golf Academy is the brainchild of three PGA qualified coaches - Craig Thomas, Craig Fletcher and Dannielle Wilkinson - and seeks to break down the barriers to people taking up golf.

They are delivering a wide number of initiatives targeted at encouraging people into the sport or, for those already playing the game, the chance to develop their skills.

These range from the New2Golf sessions aimed at men, the Ladies Let Learn programme, the Junior Golf Passport , the Golf 4 All scheme designed for people of all ages and abilities as well as working with local schools.

As well as a 19 bay covered floodlit driving range at Wood Farm, Essington, which features power tees and heaters, the Academy is linked to Greenfield Golf Club, at Fordhouses in Wolverhampton, which gives players the chance to immediately test out their new found skills on the course.

A launch event last year attracted around 200 potential golfers to give the Academy a flying start.

"It was a great opportunity for people to come and meet us, enjoy a free taster session and see the facilities we have to offer," explained Craig Fletcher.

"Our aim is to try and introduce the game of golf to as many people as possible. The three of us share a vision that golf should be made accessible to all members of the community.

"The Golf Academy is focused on changing perceptions by breaking down barriers that have traditionally been in place, restricting people from participating in golf.

"Golf offers countless benefits for individuals taking part, the most notable of which are improved health, well-being and a chance to make new friends."

The Golf Academy is also forging links with the council-owned Cannock Park Golf Club, a municipal course which also offers memberships and is working towards achieving the GolfMark award.

Sean Hammill, County Development Officer for the Staffordshire Golf Partnership, commented: "The role of driving ranges is fundamental to golf development in England and clearly they are the starting point for the majority of newcomers to this great game, providing a variety of coaching and practice opportunities."

For more information on The Golf Academy, visit

RangeMark is an initiative jointly provided by the English Golf Union (EGU) and English Women's Golf Association (EWGA) via England Golf's 'Whole Sport Plan' for golf and is an integral part of England Golf's vision to 'Grow the Game'.

Range Mark is also one of a number of projects aimed at increasing participation in golf run under the umbrella of the Staffordshire Golf Partnership. This 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 Staffordshire the partnership is supported by the Staffordshire Ladies County Golf Association, the Staffordshire Union of Golf Clubs and the Staffordshire PGA.

For more details of the activities in Staffordshire visit .

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