English Golf Courses

GolfMark recognition for Cookridge Hall GC

Leeds club claims prestigious ‘Club of the Year’ gong from England Golf

Cookridge Hall in Leeds has won a top national award in recognition of the warm welcome and encouragement it offers to junior and beginner golfers. The club is the 2014 winner of England Golf’s prestigious GolfMark ‘Club of the Year’ award, supported by COBRA PUMA GOLF.

Its success was announced at a gala dinner at the England Golf County Conference at Staverton Park in Northamptonshire. Norwood Park Golf Centre in Nottinghamshire and Strawberry Hill Golf Club in south-west London were the runners-up.

Ray Agar, the Cookridge Hall junior organiser, said: “We are very honoured and it’s great to know that the hard work of the whole team has been recognised by people outside the club.”

Cookridge Hall was the first club in Yorkshire to achieve GolfMark - in 2007 - and it has been awarded High Achiever status at its last two assessments. Agar added: “If you successfully achieve GolfMark you are going to have a forward-thinking club, which is willing to listen to people, to welcome them and make them feel wanted.”

The club sets out to encourage children as young as five and six, to try golf and offers them a playing pathway. It has links with about 50 local schools, including one for children with special educational needs, and it gives taster lessons to around 1,000 youngsters each year. They are invited to the club for free coaching sessions and can then join the academy, transferring to the junior section when they are aged around ten or 11.

When the youngsters are ready to go on the course they’re carefully assessed and start each hole at an appropriate point for their skills, for example, from 100, 150 or 200 yards from the green.

“That way they all get to the green in roughly the same number of shots,” said Agar. “They have to enjoy it, as well as learn skills, if they are going to get something out of it. The team is great and very innovative, are willing to put their ideas into practice.”

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