A golfing paradise, the Golf Dome, Seaton Carew

After a year which included a soggy summer and a bitterly-cold, often snow covered winter help has come to the year-round golfer in the shape of the Golf Dome.

Setup by PGA professional Craig Donaldson, the Golf Dome boasts a Mediterranean climate, driving range, chipping green and GC2 simulators as well as a host of other golf activities and amenities.

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Donaldson, a teaching professional with 20 years experience – having coached in Italy, Spain, London and across the North East – told North East Golf:

“The first comment we get is WOW!”

“Everyone loves it in here because it’s warm. It’s a friendly environment and everyone is praising our customer service. We are getting golfers of all ages and abilities in and they’re all feeling very comfortable and relaxed here.

“I feel like it’s working well so far.”

The Golf Dome will be hosting a Masters Tournament event starting Thursday, April 10.

For an accomplished golfer the Golf Dome offers the chance to focus on the short game, “What I am trying to emphasise to everyone is, if they work more on their short game and less on their long game they will improve their scores significantly,” Donaldson explained.

The highlight of the short game facilities is the 45-yard driving range and its centrepiece 185 m2 green complex. “Everyone is really positive about the green they can’t believe the way the ball reacts on it, it’s very realistic. We have eight bays on the driving range and the back wall is netted so you can hit driver if you want to.

“We also have a chipping and putting green. This gives golfers the opportunity to practice on a green that’s rolling at about 89 on the stimp meter.

“The green’s fast, very true and has some nice contours on it,” Donaldson explained.

The Golf Dome also boasts four simulator bays, complete with GC2 Simulators. The bays are available for hire and offer a range of 780 courses from around the World. They can also be used for practice, club fitting and teaching.

The Golf Dome also has a retail outlet, with equipment from Mizuno, Callaway and TaylorMade as well as many other leading brands.

Three professionals are on hand; Donaldson, James Harper and Julie Welch to offer advice, coaching and equipment guidance.

The dome boasts Sky Sports television, a licensed bar/cafe and a welcoming, family atmosphere.

Asked to sum up the Golf Dome, Donaldson added: “Inside the dome there’s a constant climate, at the minute it’s 17.5 degrees, it’s comfortable. You couldn’t do it outside, you couldn’t get together and practice but you can in here.”

As you can see in our gallery, the Golf Dome is part of the Sports Domes complex at Seaton Carew, Hartlepool. The complex offers football, a fully-equipped gym, a series of treatment rooms as well as bar, restaurant and conference facilities. For more information visit: www.thesportsdomes.co.uk & follow @TheSportsDomes on Twitter.

As always keep up to date with all the latest golf news from the North East here at North East Golf and follow us on Twitter @northeastgolf

The Maters Tournament event at The Golf Dome

Each night of the Masters tournament, from the start of coverage (7pm) to the close of play the Golf Dome are hosting a ticket-only event. There’s a limited availability of 40 places per night and tickets are £40.

A ticket includes unlimited use of the Golf Dome’s facilities, as well as a hot buffet. The Masters will be projected onto the dome live, throughout the night.

For more information contact The Sports Domes, Golf on: 01429 800 581.


Captain’s Drive In – Backworth Golf Club 2013

Backworth Golf Club’s new captain, Jack Raey, driving into office on Sunday, February 24.

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North East’s golf courses hoping for an end to wet weather

Heavy rain has caused chaos across the country as flood warnings are issued and roads closed. The region’s golfers are hoping for an end to the wet weather as courses struggle to cope with rain continuing to fall on already saturated fairways.

We spoke to a number of the region’s top courses to find out how they’re coping.

Jonny Mould, Golf Sales and Operations Manager at Ramside Hall, said: “I think today, despite this already being the wettest summer on record, is the wettest I’ve seen the course in my time here.

“Our Head Greenkeeper, Roger Shore,  has said this morning that he has never seen the course this wet.

“The good thing about Ramside Hall is that as soon as the rain stops the irrigation system will be able to cope with the volume of water on the course and move it into one of the 15 lakes here on site. We should be open and playable very quickly.”

The situation is similar at Matfen Hall, home of top coach and European Seniors’ Tour player John Harrison. Nicola Hawes, Assistant Golf Manager at Matfen Hall, said: “ We’re closed at the moment but the tees and greens are all ok. It’s particularly wet between those with a lot of water lying on a couple of the fairways.

“If the rain stops, there’s a good chance we’ll be open tomorrow as the drainage will start to do its job.”

Rockliffe Hall, one of the region’s top resorts, seems to be coping well with the rain so far. John Stacey, Head Professional at Rockliffe, said: “The water seems to be draining away quite well at the moment. Obviously, as it’s rained for the last 48 hours, there is a little bit of standing water on the course at the moment.

“Rockliffe does benefit from some fantastic drainage and we’re hoping to be able to open as soon as the rain stops. This looks to be Thursday morning at this moment in time.”

David Ord, Head professional at Ingleby Barwick, said the clubs winter programmes were being hit hard by the heavy rain: “I think that all the courses in the region have been hit hard over the last couple of days. We’re lucky here as the river runs through the course and allows it to drain very quickly.

“Unfortunately, I don’t think there’s any drainage system that could cope with the rain that’s fallen over the last 48 hours. This has come at a really hard time for a lot of courses as we move into the winter months and have to prepare the course for the changing season. At the moment we’re hoping that, with a dry spell, we’ll be able to open back up for the weekend.”

Eaglescliffe’s Tom Smith wins Race2Rockliffe grand final

Eaglescliffe Golf Club’s Tom Smith has landed the top prize in the Mizuno Race2Rockliffe grand final.

Smith, 20, returned a two-over par 74 on the challenging Durham course to claim the title by two shots.

Tom Skelton, 15, from Beamish Park Golf Club, claimed the nett prize on the day with a level-par 72 – playing off of a seven handicap.

Tom Smith with the trophy

The grand final saw players between the ages of 12 and 21 taking part in two competitions – mixed gross and mixed nett – with handicaps ranging from one to 28.

Jonathan Ward, County Development Officer for the Durham County Golf Partnership, said: “This year saw more players taking part in an increased number of events to qualify for the grand final and thanks to the support of both our sponsors and the clubs in Durham, it is a competition that will continue to go from strength to strength.

“The competition provides young golfers in the county with a structured competition that allows them to test their skills against players of a similar ability at a variety of locations.”

The event, organised by the Durham County Golf Partnership, saw up and coming golfers from across the region compete in 15 events as part of the season-long order of merit.

The leading 30 players in the order of merit qualified for the grand final at Rockliffe Hall. Smith qualified for the grand final as leader of the gross category in the order of merit.

Harrison Downs (Eaglescliffe) lead the boys’ nett category heading into the final event, while Natasha Martin (Beamish Park GC) was the girls’ leader.

The event’s sponsors, Mizuno and Rockliffe Hall, have recently announced a two-year extension of their support.

Ward added: “Thanks to the continuing support of Mizuno and Rockliffe Hall, the end of season final was a day to remember with some great prizes, top performances and a golf course to match.

“I would like to add a big thank you to all the volunteers who have supported the Mizuno Race2Rockliffe  throughout the year. Without the support of the many volunteers from our partners who turned out for the grand final, the whole event would not have been possible.”

Registrations for the 2013 Race2Rockliffe open in the new year with a full list of the dates and venues of the qualifying events appearing on the Durham CGP website www.durhamgolfpartnership.com

Hexham Golf Club’s junior team claim National title

Hexham Golf Club’s junior team have rounded off their incredible season by winning the final of the England Junior Team Championship.

The championship, held at the Five Lakes Resort in Colchester, saw 12 regional winners compete for a place in the Home Nations Cup, which will be held in Antequera on the Costa del Sol in March.

John Storey, Hexham’s Junior Organiser, said: “I’m over the moon with the lads’ performance this year. I am immensely proud of their commitment.

“They’re all dedicated to their practice and work tremendously hard – to see all their hard work pay off is fantastic.”

Hexham have had an incredibly successful season. They claimed the Northumbria Junior Golf league title with a season average of 9.8 points from a possible 12 per game. They went on to win the league playoffs – which gave them a place in the North of England Championships – which they won in August.

Next came the National final, where six players took part. Hexham’s total of 372 (combining the best gross score and best four nett scores) left them tied with Beedle Lake of Leicestershire. The tie was settled with the fifth nett score – Duncan Storey’s 89 for an 81 good enough to beat Beedle’s Ryan Soutin, who could only manage a 91 for 83 nett.

Marcus Chisholm, Chairman of the Northumbria Junior Golf League, said: “Our congratulations go to the junior team in this great achievement. Our thanks go to the support from Hexham Golf Club, particularly, John Storey and Darren Lamb  (Assistant Junior Representative) for their hard work and commitment in their support of their team.

“This is great day for both Hexham and for Northumberia Junior Golf League.”

Dawn Wylie, Secretary of Hexham Golf Club, was also keen to congratulate the juniors. She said: “It’s a tremendous achievement for the junior team, they’ve been great ambassadors for the golf club throughout the season.”

The team’s next hurdle will be raising the funds for their trip to Spain. Their accommodation and food is paid for while they compete however, they must raise their own funds for flights.

Storey said: “The win has put Hexham on the map nationally. There’s also a lot of people talking about it around the county scene and wanting to get involved as we try to fund the trip to Spain next year. We will be doing all we can to make sure the boys get the chance to play in Spain.”

The club will be raising these funds over the coming months – before the boys fly out in March to compete in the Home Nations Cup.

Sunderland University golf programme announces links with Sunderland Driving Range and Wearside Golf Club

Sunderland University’s golf programme has secured links with two local facilities with the help of the Durham County Golf Partnership.

Through the work of Golf President, Andrew MacDonald and Sam Edwards along with County Development Officer Jonathon Ward, the programme has secured links with Sunderland Driving Range and Wearside Golf Club.

The link with Wearside includes a number of offers for students – from academy memberships which allow them to use the practice facilities to discounted membership deals. Andrew said: “Wearside have been superb in setting things up and I’m really excited about playing there regularly.”

As part of the link with Sunderland Driving Range, all society members and team players have access to coaching and buy one get one free on range balls. Andrew, a member of the England Golf National Youth Panel, said: “This link has real benefits for the golf programme as every level of golfer can get involved.”

Also on offer at the driving range are two beginner sessions – being run being PGA professional Stephen McNally. These session start on Monday, October 29 from 6-7pm and Wednesday, October 31 from 3-4pm. They run for six consecutive weeks.

Stephen said: “Sunderland Driving Range will be working closely with students in a number of ways. Firstly, all players will have access to the range at a reduced cost. We’ll also be running team coaching session for the BUCS league players. Finally, our beginner sessions will cover the fundamentals and will include work on the short game.

“For people wanting to get involved, it gives them: exercise, a skill and the chance to socialise and travel. It’s important to have those things in your life and golf gives you all of those opportunities.”

“For students who already play, it’s an opportunity to continue their golf development, having; the opportunity to practice, access tuition and play at Wearside is fantastic for any current or potential Sunderland Student.”

Get into golf – the Durham County Golf Partnership stand at Golf North 2012

Durham County Golf Partnership

These links have been facilitated by the Durham County Golf Partnership which is supported by England Golf. County Development Officer, Jonathon Ward said: “These links will benefits both students and the facilities and I look forward to seeing them grow over the coming months.

“The offers we’ve been able to set up not only help students but attract golfers to these facilities who may not have known the area and wanted a place to practice and/or play.

“Currently the university students’ age range is really under represented. We’re doing very well at grass roots level but we tend to lose a lot of people, for different reasons, as they reach their teens and early twenties. We’re currently trying to encourage people of this age to get involved or continue playing as they get older.”

“I think this programme is a great selling point for Sunderland University. Now you don’t have to travel to Birmingham or St Andrews to play university golf.

“For me the BUCS team is a great progression opportunity for elite players. On my side, I will be able to promote Sunderland University to elite players who are looking to go to university locally. It really works well for both sides.”

Anyone interested in the golf programme should contact Andrew MacDonald – macas2008@hotmail.co.uk

Kevin Carpenter trick shot show at Golf North 2012 – Cut HQ

Golf exhibitors at Golf North 2012

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The best of Kevin Carpenter’s trick shot show at Golf North 2012

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