A COUNTY Durham golf club is leading the way to grow the women’s game - and the hope is that more from the area will follow.

Boldon Golf Club has become the first club in England to sign up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.

The club has made a series of pledges which include running events to encourage more women and girls to play, to have at least three female board members and to create even better community links.

It has also appointed women’s member Alyson Chapman as its Charter champion to support and help new players and members.

Alyson, who has previously won a Durham award for her efforts to get women involved in golf, said: “I’ve had a huge amount of pleasure out of golf and I enjoy sharing that with other women and girls.

“Golf isn’t just about competing. Women and girls at Boldon really value the social and friendship groups – and we’ve got a growing group who holiday together, with ages from 20 to 70 plus! Golf is a really great hobby and it’s got the extra plus of lots of health benefits.”

Diane Lilley is a new member and she commented: “The club has been amazing and helpful. I’m one of 12 women who joined, from a group of 20 who started with Get into Golf.

“We’ve got a social media group to keep in touch and we have a lot of fun. We often place a bottle of Prosecco in the hole during coaching sessions – first to putt or chip and hit the bottle wins it! There are non-golfing activities at the club as well, such as women’s keep fit in the winter months.”

The Women in Golf Charter was launched last year to increase the number of women and girls playing and to encourage more opportunities for women to work.

England Golf was one of the first and a total of 106 organisations have committed to it. Now, the drive to get more clubs to sign up is set to gather pace, and in England, Fulford and Royal Birkdale have already committed to join Boldon.

Jackie Davidson, assistant director – Golf Development at The R&A, said: “We are delighted to have Boldon’s support as the first golf club in England to sign up to the Women in Golf Charter. It is so important for the Charter to break through at club level.”

Boldon has 42 women and six girl members, including seven who are following the club’s pathway to full membership. The target is to increase this by five during 2019.

It’s already got a great track record with its Get into Golf sessions for women, which are supported by Alyson. It has also run family days which attracted boys and girls to the junior Wee Wonders programme.

Club Manager Steve Watkin commented: “It was an easy decision to support the Charter and to embed our activities and commitment into our business plan. We are excited to be recognised as the first Charter signatory in Co Durham and the first club in England.”

YOUNGSTERS can try golf and get expert tuition from Richmond GC professional Dan Hood, who is running the Get Into Golf programme in conjunction with England Golf.

The sessions run from 10-11am each Saturday from March 30 and cost £5 per child. No experience is required to take part and equipment will be provided. To book, call Dan on 01748 823231.

BEDALE Golf Club enjoyed a successful Captain’s Drive-in to start the celebrations for its 125th anniversary.

Andrew Hawkswell, Adrian Hall, Andrew Partridge & Chris Nattrass 91 pts won the morning event, with Ian Rushton, Andrew Balsillie, Heath Johns & Craig Donaldson finishing a point behind.

The afternoon results saw Gary Boothroyd, Tony Howard, Keith Torode & Mike Edwards win with 90 pts (countback required) and Jez Corner, Nathan Corner, Max Weighell & Jonny Weighell behind.

The Captain’s all drove in from the first successfully and captain Hubert Van-Huet drove it 94 yards. Lady Captain Moira Hinkles drove it 115 yards and Junior Captain Oliver Hay drove it 213 yards.

Bedale Juniors turned in some fine golf in the Alverton Cup Singles Matchplay knockouts. Jake Hughes beat Bailey Lawson and Josh Newell defeated Sam Hay to progress to the next rounds. In the 30 plus handicap category Thomas Moody beat Charlie Clark on the 18th and after two play-off holes Oscar Cullen and Robbie Lee were forced into a replay.