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Golf club looks ahead to exciting new season

Written by on 20/03/2024

A thriving South Lakeland golf club is looking forward to an exciting new season.

Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club will be hosting some new prestigious competitions, has two new professionals in place and is aiming to expand its membership.

“The club is going from strength to strength and we are all looking forward to the new season, which starts in April,” said marketing officer and long-standing club member Graham Bywater.

A highlight of the forthcoming season will be the club hosting a Faldo Futures qualifier, a national competition which is open to any 7-12-year-olds, for the first time on April 2.

Winners of qualifiers go forward to a regional final with the chance of playing in The Faldo Futures Final at The Belfry in August.

Another major event will be the Micklethwaite Masters, a one-day pairs competition which the club will host for the first time on Saturday, April 13. When entries opened 160 of the best and most keen golfers in the Lunesdale area signed up to take part in just a week.

“The competition is a battle for the bragging rights to be the best pair in the area,” said club PGA professional Andy Duncan.

The Cumbria County 4s competition, a 36-hole scratch event, will be hosted by Kirkby Lonsdale for the first time in several years on May 19. The prestigious event attracts players from clubs around the county.

And later in the season, on August 19 and 20, the club will be welcoming back the Senior Masters Pro Tour, which attracts ex-European tour members and the best over 50s senior professionals from around the country.

In addition, there will be the usual busy schedule of club competitions throughout the season.

Kirkby Lonsdale now has two new PGA professionals after former professional John Twissell left to join a club in Florida. Andy Duncan, 51, who lives in Lancaster and was previously PGA

Lancashire Secretary for ten years, heads up the retail operation. Steve Whiteside, who lives at Sedbergh and spent 20 years as head of a golf academy in Jersey, leads the coaching side.

“Both of us are close friends of John and we are happy to carry on the great work he did at Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club over the past four years,” said Andy.

“The Pro-shop has had a major refurbishment over the past couple of months to make it more user friendly for members and visitors alike. The main emphasis for myself and Steve is to make sure all members and visitors are served efficiently and are looked after when they come to the club.

“We are very excited to have joined such a forward-thinking and successful club and to carry on the good work it does.”

Graham explained the club had experienced the wettest season from September to March in living memory, which had affected all local clubs, including Kirkby Lonsdale. “We have had to cancel and postpone some events and the course has been closed a lot more often than usual,” he said.

“Despite this, the club has retained its membership at around 480 members and we are on a trajectory to achieve 500 members this season. We are also just completing what has probably been the most successful winter league club competition we have ever had.”

Visitor party bookings were coming in thick and fast and were in line with the past couple of years, which had been very healthy. “Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club is in Golf World’s Top 100 Golf Society Venues of Great Britain, which is testament to the success of the club in helping encouraging golfing visitors to the area.”

He said members came from South Lakeland, north Lancashire and North Yorkshire with some from as far away as Hawes, the Eden Valley and Preston. “The club offers a range of membership packages, including Country Membership for those whose home club is more than 40 miles away, which allows 15 rounds in a calendar year.”

Recent work on the course has included the installation of winter tees at the fourth and 14th holes and the green staff are rebuilding the greenside bunker at the third hole as part of a long-term bunker improvement scheme.

Graham added: “Kirkby Lonsdale is magnificent golf course, which provides a fair and challenging test and suits all levels of golf.”

Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club was established in 1906 and has been at its present site since 1991. The 18-hole course measures 6,594 yards and is laid out in more than 160 acres of spectacular countryside. The layout provides two nine-hole loops out and back to the clubhouse.

Each of the holes has its own unique character and has four tee options, providing different degrees of difficulty. The River Lune and Barbon Beck both run through the course, which offers amazing views of Barbon Fell and the Howgills.

Other facilities include a swing room with launch monitor; a short game chipping area; a pro shop selling equipment and clothing; and ten driving range bays, four of which are covered.

The course is a haven for wildlife, including roe deer, rabbits, hares, stoats and weasels. There is a heronry and nesting swans and ducks on the lake. Several nesting boxes have been put up, which have attracted a wide variety of birdlife to the course.

The clubhouse catering facilities and driving range are open to members of the public and people are welcome to use the club’s car park as a base for walks over the Barbon fells.