Tom Lynch has landed a top executive role at the relatively tender age of 28 in leaving De Vere to become regional director of golf for Macdonald Hotels & Resorts.
This gives him responsibility for Linden Hall in Northumberland and the Scottish Borders club Cardrona near Peebles.
A five handicapper who first played the game as an eight-year-old at the Stocksfield club where he is still a member, Tom said: “I don’t feel I have been fast-tracked or anything like that.
“Anybody who works in golf will tell you it is labour-intensive and you either put in the hard yards or opportunities do not happen for you.
“My background is the joy of playing the sport I love – and enjoying a short spell of coaching in America just after university – followed by, if you like, the ‘real world’ of playing my part in helping to make sure De Vere operated successfully.
“Macdonald Hotels have offered me scope to develop both the operational standards and commercial side at a time when we are investing heavily in the two courses.”
Hexham-born Tom, a former pupil at Prudhoe High School who lives in Consett, started working life at Slaley Hall in 2008.
He eventually became De Vere’s UK membership services manager, contributing to a phenomenal upsurge in numbers nationally during the peak years of the De Vere Club boom, while still being based at Slaley.
He said: “My one main central workplace until now has been Slaley. I made good friends there and it was where I met my wife Vikki when she was working on the conference and events side of the business.
“I have fond memories of some great characters both on the staff and among the members. In some ways it was a wrench to leave, but this was far too good an opportunity to pass up.”
Coincidences involving the Stocksfield club have cropped up during Tom’s career.
As a boy he was coached by the then PGA assistant at Stocksfield, Sam Oliver, who had joined the staff at Slaley by the time Tom first spent time there on work experience as a 14-year-old.
After he graduated from the University of Central Lancashire in Preston, with a first-class honours degree in sports management, Tom coached for four months on a temporary basis at Haverford College, near Philadelphia, before his work permit ran out.
Haverford is situated a stone’s throw from the Merion club, where the best player in Stocksfield’s history, Chris Paisley, was to play for Great Britain and Ireland in the 2009 Walker Cup.