Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hunting Plaudits Aren't a Surprise; Award's Still an Honour - Cram

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Hunting Plaudits Aren't a Surprise; Award's Still an Honour - Cram

Article excerpt

Byline: Tim Taylor

STEVE Cram, the De Vere Slaley Hall greenkeeper, yesterday used national recognition for the Hunting Course as a platform to launch a crusade for North East golf. Readers of Today's Golfer have chosen the Hunting as the region's leading course in the magazine's inaugural travel awards, made in conjunction with tour operator Your Golf Travel.

The polls are announced in the January issue and the Hunting came third in the North of England as a whole behind Open Championship venues Royal Birkdale and Royal Lytham & St Annes. 1 "It's a big honour, but not a massive surprise," said Cram, 41, who started work at Slaley as a 16-year-old part-timer in his school summer holidays and is now the golf courses and estates manager. "I can remember the boom time for golf in the late 1990s when I could not get into my local club Hexham, which had a four-year waiting list. The Hunting was busier last year than it was even in those days and we had 78,143 rounds of golf played on both Slaley's courses. There has been some serious investment in the sport in the North East made not only by De Vere but also by Close House just down the road from us and Rockliffe Hall down at the bottom end of County Durham.

"There are also some really good members-run courses such as Bamburgh Castle, Brancepeth Castle, Goswick and Hexham and many others. Yet golf in the North East gets nothing like the tourist board support as the sport does in Scotland and the North West, through their local authorities.

"The powers that be round here should start looking on golf as an excellent vehicle for bringing money into the region's economy and giving the sport as a whole in the region the financial backing it deserves.

"At Slaley and within De Vere, golf has seen the most significant investment, more than any other part of our business over the past 24 months, and this is in testament to the condition of our courses.

"We are also giving players highly flexible membership options through our De Vere Club, which has become a model for other clubs all over the country in terms of attracting players to courses."

De Vere's Carden Park in Chester won the section for Best Hotel/Resort in the North with Rockliffe Hall second and Linden Hall, in North Northumberland, third. …

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