New Range at Longhirst Hall

Converted from the original practice area, the facility now boasts 14 bays, Power Tees, Srixon balls, teaching bay and is floodlit for evening practice. A full spec chipping / pitching green is adjacent with practice bunkers to make it the ideal environment in which to practise. 

The venue, which has hosted The PGA Europro tour for five years, and returns again this July, is rapidly growing its reputation, with this latest addition attracting county attention as well as at  national Europro level. The use of The Power Tees has proved a massive benefit to users of the facility, finding them easy to use with the quality in the mat also. 
Director of golf at Longhirst Graham Chambers said, “This project has been in our minds for a few years, and it’s great to see the public using and enjoying it.”
The facility is open to members and the public, with academy memberships available which offers 10% extra when topping up credits. He added, “We want to produce an environment that can be enjoyed and used by the top golfers, as well as, the new players coming into the game. We want a friendly and welcoming place for families to enjoy.”
Golf Features:  What was the rationale behind reinvesting in the golf range to such an extent?
“Since opening in 1997, we have developed into one of the North East’s largest and most popular venues. Having the choice of two courses and the clubhouse facilities, we felt the only thing missing was a dedicated, quality environment for all levels to practice. We want to create a ‘one stop shop’, if you like, for golfers. 
“We feel its all about creating a relationship from a young age and making them feel part of what we do. This we hope helps with member retention and increased participation in golf. Ideally having mum and dad turning up with their children and enjoying the sport.”
Golf Features: Can you tell us more about the background to the project?
“Tom Dawson of travel agents Dawson and Sanderson is behind the project. Having taken up golf in the early 90’s he saw gap in the market for what is now a rapidly expanding “lifestyle membership” that many clubs are introducing. 
“At the time it was a new idea in golf, but as the game and the way people play the game now has proved, it was a visionary idea. He wanted to exclude all that was perceived of a golf club as being stuffy, unfriendly and full of restrictions, so set up Longhirst with competitions for all categories of member, whether male, female, or junior. The choice of tees available to each member, and equal rights to all. Again, something that is now, a lot more common place. Now aged 83, Tom still comes up everyday and has an active part in the club.”
Golf Features: What was your role within the project in greater detail and and anything you would like to add on your background, ideas and observations on running the facility?
“As our development has grown, so too has my role, starting off as course manager of a grow in, onto opening. Assisting the the design, grow in and opening of our second course, assisting in the design and construction of our clubhouse. Liaising with The PGA to bring The Europro tour here 5 years ago which returns for 6th time this June, and finally overseeing the construction of the driving range.
“It’s a varied, but busy and enjoyable position to be in, and I like to make time to get out on the course for a few hours a day to helps my greens team. We have a huge development in the pipeline which we are working on at the moment, which we can announce in due course. So there’s always something to be done and improved upon. “As a baby in golf course terms, we are growing year on year in our reputation, and that is what we strive for, a constant improvement. In my spare time I’m a songwriter and just about to launch my first album too in May.”