AT THE HELM: Ross Law has taken over as club captain at Barnard Castle Golf Club
AT THE HELM: Ross Law has taken over as club captain at Barnard Castle Golf Club

Golf

NEW Barnard Castle Golf Club captain Ross Law is planning to carry on the good work of his predecessor as efforts continue to increase membership.

Mr Law said outgoing captain Phil Hartley had put in a lot of hard work during the previous 12 months which had helped stem the drop in numbers.

“I am following a great year. We have got an improvement plan looking to target new members and sponsors,” said Mr Law, who steps up to the post from seniors captain.

Like many sports clubs, Barnard Castle Golf Club has difficulty attracting younger members.

“People have a lot of time constraints which make it difficult to fit in a three or four hour round of gold,” he said.

The club is hoping the introduction of adult nine-hole membership for £375 a year will tempt people back to the course. Nine-hole competitions will be held on Thursdays and Saturdays for those who sign up.

A week’s holiday ticket costing £75 for adults and £25 for children over 12 has also been brought in.

Mr Ross said he was looking forward to his year in office – although he added being club captain is much more than a figurehead role.

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“Nowadays it is more a chief operating officer type of role. As captain I am chairman of the management committee and responsible for all things golf. I have to organise teams for matches in the Teesside District Union competition, ensure all members are happy and meet and greet guests.

“Times have changed since it was simply being a figurehead.”

Mr Law, a retired industrial chemist with Norsk Hydro, has been a member of the club since moving to Cotherstone 15 years ago.

Currently playing off 21, he hopes to get his handicap down to 17 or 18. “But it’s a struggle,” he admits.

At the club’s annual meeting last week, secretary Stuart Everall thanked outgoing treasurer Malcolm McCallum for all his hard work and dedication over the last nine years.

Despite the club’s costs increasing and what new treasurer Sue Blaeford described as “a significant loss” in the accounts to September, it was decided to hold the membership fee at this year’s level.

Mrs Blaeford, a former county golfer, said: “Our aim is to increase overall income by £8,000 in the coming year through more aggressive marketing, including increased use of social media and leaflet drops at schools, colleges and universities.

“We have also identified savings in excess of £8,000 on insurance, telecoms, waste disposal, software subscriptions and administrative costs.”

Mr Everall said: “If we keep putting up the fees we are in danger of returning to the days when golf was seen as an elitist sport.”