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Golf shorts: Brancepeth at its best again
AN ambitious golf club - rated one of the best 100 in Britain and Ireland - is in the swing again and ready to secure a future as prestigious as its past through a massive £160,000 of improvements.
Now in its 89th year, Brancepeth Castle Golf Club re-opened its beautiful greens and fairways this summer.
Damage caused to parts of the course during storms last year, and which led to just 15 holes being playable, has been repaired through a skilful and sympathetic upgrading programme.
It has ensured its challenging layout, created by renowned course designer Harry Colt across historic Brancepeth Castle Deer Park has been faithfully restored.
Investment over the next five years will see further upgrades to fairways and greens, as well as new equipment, including cutters, a tractor and utility vehicles, and money spent on a greens iron and spraying equipment.
A new chairman of greens, Paul Swainston, has also been appointed to ensure the course is maintained and developed to suit the finest traditions of the club.
Jim Murray, chair of the club, said he believed Colt, who designed around 300 courses world-wide, including Royal Lytham & St Annes and Wentworth, and was consulted over the layout of Muirfield in the 1920s and parts of Pine Valley, California, would be thrilled to see his legacy in such good shape.
Murray said: “What he created here is certainly very secure. Brancepeth has always been a well- respected golf club and course and it is a tremendous boost to us that these upgrades have been carried out quickly and to a superb standard.
“We are incredibly excited at the major investment we have planned and believe it will increase our already incredibly high standing within the world of golf.
“Everyone at Brancepeth is looking forward with great anticipation to what the future holds and seeing just how far this club can go.”
It has a membership of around 700, which includes about 100 female golfers with handicaps. The difficulty the course can pose for players ensures most have a low handicap.
The club, which has played host to the final of the English County Championships and the English Ladies Amateur Championships, retains a beautiful clubhouse, converted from the deer park’s former stables and coach house.
Information on Brancepeth Castle Golf Club is available by calling 0191 378 0075, or by visiting www.brancepeth-castle-golf.co.uk
NORTH-EAST duo Chris Handy and Matty Lamb played their part in England boys’ comprehensive victory over Scotland on Sunday.
South Moor’s Handy and Hexham’s Lamb both paired up to win their foursomes match 3&1 over R Frannsen and G Burnett as England’s Under-16s cruised in to a five-nil lead over their counterparts across the border.
And despite Handy’s narrow defeat to Frannsen in the singles, England managed to win most of their matches – including Lamb’s 2&1 win over Burrett – to emerge with a 11.5 to 3.5pts triumph.
The duo are now pencilled in to face Ireland at the Links in Portmarnock this weekend.
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