AN ambitious County Durham golf club wants to become the hub of junior golf in the area after seeing numbers flourish over the last six months.

Since creating links with Darlington Borough Council and schools in Darlington, Blackwell Grange has seen a July 2013 figure of just three juniors swell to 63 at the start of this year after moving over to the old Stressholme site.

But Blackwell are determined to see that surge continue and are inviting families to come along to the clubhouse bar this Saturday at 4pm to hear about the benefits of youngsters hitting the greens.

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PGA professional at Blackwell, Ross Jackson, is determined to ensure the buzz continues after seeing his visits to Darlington schools really take off in getting children in to the sport.

He has been working with the senior sport and physical activity development officer at Darlington Borough Council, Paul Foreman, and together they have been delivering the golf extreme programme.

Jackson, who has worked between Blackwell and Stressholme for the last 13 years before the merger last summer, said: “It’s been a huge success. We have seen junior memberships grow but we want to push that on again.

“We have had a great response from the secondary schools and we now want to see that from the primary schools. The aim is to have 100 junior members before the end of this year – that would be fantastic.”

With golf club memberships, generally, on the decrease, the importance of introducing more and more young golfers to the sport has never been greater. Clubs across the country are trying to come up with ways of boosting numbers.

At Blackwell, one of the few clubs to post an increase in full-time memberships at the latest Durham County Golf Union Annual General Meeting, they are no different. But they have bigger intentions of just improving the figures.

Jackson, 29, said: “The message to Under-16s, whether they have played before or not, is that they are welcome to give golf a go and come down to us and try it.

“We want parents to be able to see what the benefits are of getting their kids in to sport and, specifically, golf. “At Blackwell there is me, Ralph Givens and Peter Raine all on hand to coach the golfers and we want Blackwell to be seen as the hub of junior golf coaching in the area.

“We want young golfers - and their parents – to come and see what we have to offer here and get the benefits from the work and dedication we put in to making sure our junior members enjoy golf and improve.”

The open presentation for families at Blackwell Grange Golf Club will take place from 4pm on Saturday, January 11. Anyone interested is more than welcome to go along.

For further information on the presentation, junior memberships or anything else connected with Blackwell Grange Golf Club’s junior section contact

TWO Ryder Cup venues are among a host of exciting courses featuring on the 2014 Lombard Trophy regional final schedule.

Lindrick and The K Club, scenes of triumphant home victories in 1957 and 2006, are among another strong line-up for Europe’s largest pro-am.

The event, which attracted entries from more than 700 clubs last year, carries an £80,000 prize fund including £12,000 to the winning PGA pro at the Gleneagles showpiece final on the King’s Course in September. Entries open on Monday, January 6.