AMATEUR golfers are teeing up to take part in the biggest event of its kind in the region.
North Shields-based Golf Locker TV are putting the finishing touches to the Great North Golf Tour, which aims to give amateur players the chance to play in and experience a ‘professional’ event.
And they have lined up eight of the top golf courses in the north to host the events.
A maximum of 120 golfers can take part in the main events on the tour, with 72 at the smaller ones – with more than two-thirds of some events already filled.
Each of the rounds will be filmed and then broadcast on Golf Locker TV’s own Sky TV channel.
As well as the backing of amateur players, with some travelling from as far away as Ipswich and Liverpool to take part, local professional golfers are also supporting the event while 11 main sponsors have already been brought on board.
Jamie O’Neill, managing director, said: “Our aim is to become the largest amateur golf event in the UK.
“We believe we can do that through the contacts we have and the courses that have signed up.
“97 per cent of golfers within the north are just 45 minutes from one of the tour events.”
The tour starts off at Linden Hall Golf Course, north of Morpeth, on March 26.
It then visits Styrup Hall Golf and Country Club, in Doncaster; Keighley Golf Course, near Bradford; Oulton Hall near Leeds; Dunstanburgh Castle Golf Club and Slaley Hall Golf Club, both in Northumberland; Forest Park Golf Club near York; and finishing at Close House Golf Club in Northumberland.
As well as a trophy for each of the eight events and signed Ian Poulter merchandise, plus prizes for those who finish second and third, there will also be mini-games and side events to keep players entertained.
Golfers who take part in three or more events can also compete for the ‘order of merit’ title, with the overall winner getting a trophy and a golfing holiday for four people to the La Manga resort in Spain.
Amateur golfer Jonathon Crickmore, from Southport, is already looking forward to competing in the tour.
He said: “This is going to give us the feel of being a professional playing on this tour, going towards an Order of Merit and seeing yourself on the scoreboard.
“It’s nice to be part of something like that.
“I’ve done smaller events like this and found there was a great camaraderie among the players, you get to know each other and have a laugh.”
Professional player Kimberley Crooks said: “I think it’s a fantastic tour, the guys at Golf Locker TV are going to make the golfers feel special.
“The courses they’ve picked are fantastic and gets the golfers playing in something more prestigious than a club tournament.”
She added: “I’d like to think this event could attract more lady golfers but they might feel intimidated.”
Cramlington-based Project Facilities Management are delighted to be one of the 11 sponsors signed up.
Simon Venus-Lyon is not only looking forward to playing in the event, but also getting the company’s name onto a wider scene.
He said: “The courses on the tour are really nice, and it’s a chance to meet people and have a game of golf while at the same time tell people what we do and more about the company.”
For more information about the event or to buy tickets, visit www.greatnorthgolftour.com