Morpeth Golf Club this week announced they have been awarded a £50,000 grant by Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Programme. The grant will support the development of new Practice and Academy facilities at the club and some refurbishment of the ladies and girls changing facilities.
Morpeth, a traditional members club in the heart of beautiful Northumberland was founded in 1906. Six years ago the members celebrated its centenary, 3 years ago they fulfilled a long term ambition to buy the property and 3 years later in 2012 the c900 members are celebrating again.
Keith Davidson, Club Chairman said “After the purchase of the freehold in 2009, this and the award of ‘Golf Mark’ status in 2011 provide clear recognition of the club’s drive, determination and ambition. 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. There are too many people to thank on this page, but they know who they are and I hope they feel as proud as I do of what they have helped to achieve.
The clubs ambition and professional approach are being recognised. We are proud to be part of the Olympic legacy in 2012. The schedule of work is currently being finalised and we are aiming to open the facilities for use before the Olympic Torch visits the town on 15 June 2012.”
Sport England chose the club as the only golf club in the country to be receive an award in the first round of funding released in December.
Terry Minett, General Manager of the club and 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 only golf club in the country to be awarded funding in the first tranche of £10 million of the “places people play legacy programme” delivered by Sport England.
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. We have had excellent support from our County Development Officer at the County Golf Partnership and the improvement in our practice facilities will ensure we can encourage greater numbers of people to play and improve their game. Golf is a unique sport that can be played competitively for 70 plus years. Golf can span generations and grandparents can compete against their grandchildren. We have members from 5 to 85.
Golf is no longer an elite sport played by a minority affluent people. Golf is in my opinion an unrivalled sport for involvement of all ages and sex.
The award by Sport England is recognition of the changes made in golf over the last twenty years”.
The clubs mantra to provide a facility where ‘Golfers Matter and Tradition Counts’ that is supported by a clear focus on development of the sport, at all levels, for all ages and across the local community. Wider participation and the nurturing of talent are core aims of the Club, these facilities will help the club drive that agenda.
The sport has undertaken reform in recent years driven by changes in legislation and at its governing body. The drive for inclusion and equality is a core aim of this change and the facilities at Morpeth demonstrate how that can be put into practice. The project will provide year round practice facilities including a covered Dry Range, artificial playing surface, 5 short par 3 practice/academy holes, a new putting green and chipping green, all within the existing boundary of the course.
Terry Minett, General Manager at the club is clearly delighted as he concluded “I believe that the new facilities will be among, if not the best, practice facilities at any traditional members club in the county. Our members are excited about the developments at the club there is a vibrant atmosphere and I hope the new members who have joined us over the past 12 months will be joined by many more in the weeks to come. What will our members be celebrating in 2015 – time will tell but the omens are good!”
Picture shows, left to right: Jason Budd, Regional Development Officer England Golf and Terry Minett, General Manager Morpeth Golf Club.