CHRIS Robinson is to stand down after nearly 45 years with the Northumberland Junior Golfing Association.
CHRIS Robinson is to stand down after nearly 45 years with the Northumberland Junior Golfing Association. He's spent the last three years as the NJGA Press officer, but he's been involved in various roles with the body he founded in 1964 and which has produced a string of talented golfers including the likes of Kenneth Ferrie, Chris Paisley, David Curry and Jenny Lee Smith, the North-East's first women pro golfer.
Hexham born Chris launched the Northumberland Junior Golf Society - as it was called then - in 1964, with the idea of having an organised group of boy members to compete in junior county competitions.
In that year Leslie Jones (Arcot Hall) was the president of the English Golf Union and Charles Storey (Whitley Bay) was the treasurer. Chris said: "I was given the authority to proceed and circulated each club in Northumberland for prospective members, and received replies from 30 boys who wished to join up.
"We started with our own junior committee, headed by Charles Storey as president and the late Paddy Baker as chairman. In 1965 we thought of possible girl members, but were told by Florence Jackson, the ladies county secretary 'there are no girl golfers in Northumberland.'
"We did, however, speak to all the clubs and unearthed eight girls. One of them was Jenny Lee Smith (Gosforth), who went on to be the Ladies British Open Amateur Strokeplay Champion and later turned professional and played on the US women's tour.
"A lot of water has passed under the bridge since then and our star graduate has been Ashington's Kenneth Ferrie, who won the British Boys Championship in 1996 who also turned pro and won the Spanish and European Opens and is currently playing on the US PGA circuit.
"Our first ambition was to produce a senior county player from the junior ranks. In the recent county match against English Champions Yorkshire, the Northumberland team was made up from current juniors and those who've just left the NJGA and last year Chris Paisley, who is at college in the USA, became the first amateur to win a North Region PGA title when he clinched the Rock Tournament at Matfen Hall."
The society, now known as the Northumberland Junior Golf Association, has grown to become the driving force for junior golf in the county and the main source of players for the county sides - there are currently over 250 boys and 40 girls who are members of the NJGA.
For the last decade the association has been run by secretary John Duncan (City of Newcastle), a former Northumberland County player, ably supported by the likes of Ron Tinmouth, Dave Souter, Barry Rodger and many others.
On the playing side, Chris represented Northumberland junior and senior teams and played to a three handicap at Hexham.
He was also the publisher of the North East Times magazine for 21 years, selling it to Accent Magazines Ltd. six years ago. He still contributes to it, including a monthly golf column.
Chris's wife Lorna, who plays off a 15 handicap, is the ladies secretary at the City of Newcastle Golf Club and she is also the daughter of the late John Pargeter, who was rugby and golf correspondent and also sports editor of Golf North East's sister paper, The Journal.