Durham golf club becomes first to renew GolfMark award

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 7, 2019 12:40

A golf club in Durham has become the first in England to renew its GolfMark award – an official seal of approval for its work to grow the game.

In doing so, Houghton-le-Spring Golf Club has also achieved England Golf’s new SafeGolf accreditation, showing it meets high standards to safeguard and promote the welfare of children and young people.

Houghton-le-Spring showed its commitment to young golfers last year when, with the support of Wickes, the DIY and home improvement company, it ran a volunteer project to convert a pool room / general storage space into a room for juniors. The project involved local community groups and young carers.

Now, with GolfMark successfully renewed for another three years, the club is looking ahead and working to encourage even more people – particularly women and girls – to take up golf and become members.

It offers an academy membership for its six-hole short course and practice facilities, which is popular with beginners. It’s staged ‘Women on Par’ days with England Golf, to get new golfers out on the course and have fun with friends. It’s hoping to join the Girls Golf Rocks recruitment programme later this year.

Ann Young and Mags Shaw, from the club’s business development team, were among those involved in renewing GolfMark.

Mags Shaw (left) and Ann Young of Houghton-le-Spring Golf Club

“We’re thrilled to be the first club to renew GolfMark,” said Ann. “It’s a great asset, which puts the club in a strong position and helps us to stand out from the rest. We’d advise any club considering GolfMark to get right on with it!”

Mags added: “We take great pride in our SafeGolf accreditation which tells people that we really care about the children and young people who come here.”

Mike Greener, England Golf club support officer for Durham, said: “I am delighted that Houghton-le-Spring have become the first club to achieve this milestone. They are so committed to being relevant to the community and up to date with all their policies and procedures. Now, with SafeGolf, they can confidently promote themselves as a safe venue to the wider community.”


Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir January 7, 2019 12:40
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  1. Dave January 8, 10:13

    Congratulations on your achievement!
    I could not agree more with James’ comment. It is a choice each facility makes. To either make time available for youth or not. This does not include hosting a 30 minute clinic on a Tuesday morning or having the third assistant handle ‘junior duties’.
    Golf courses have time available. Private, Public or Municipal. If you do not, congratulations! You are to be commended. But, the vast majority have the opportunity to set up some type of ongoing inclusive program for Junior Golfers. Look at your tee sheets over the past few years. There will be some form of recurring opening/gap in the tee sheet that begs to be filled. If you are looking for the “AHA!” moment, there it is. Available time is all that is needed.
    Create a price that works for all. Regardless if you have 12 or 120 players this year, it is a building block for future programs. If it is not offered, they will not be there. They will be somewhere else. They will be somewhere else for years to come. Hook them now at your facility with open arms. Make sure they enjoy themselves. Find a way for them to enjoy. You owe it to your facility to open this incredible avenue of goodwill, revenue and your future.

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  2. James January 7, 15:38

    Brilliant, great thinking. There’s still a great need to drive more juniors into the game, something I’m very passionate about.

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