THE staff at Cocken Lodge had to pull out all the stops to prepare the course for the first County Durham Junior Mini Tour Golf Day following days of heavy rain.
And on the day, dozens of youngsters from all around the region took part in the inaugural event, watched on by parents, grand parents, brothers and sisters.
With the sun beating down and very little wind the first event very nearly didn't take place. EGU North East representative Jason Budd said: "The weather has played its part and to be honest when we came here on Friday, I really didn't think it was going to happen so I've got to say a massive thank you to the greenkeepers.
"They closed the course this morning just to keep it for the Golf Tour and they have basically put on a great show for us and I can't commend them enough.
"They've done a great job on the greens especially the fourth where they were removing fish from the putting surface on Friday after the whole area flooded."
Jason added: "I'm really surprised by the number of entries especially the number of late entries we have had. Today, there are 57 entries and for the whole tour, we have approximately 50 participants playing at every venue. It just shows that there is a massive demand for these types of events, providing young kids with competitive golf.
"There are so many juniors in the field who do not have a handicap and are not members of clubs so for them this will be their first experience of going out onto a golf course. And with the parents being with them and caddying, they have that emotional support and encouragement
"This first event has been really good and I'm pleased with the way everybody has pulled together, especially the volunteers who attended to help out - everyone appears to be enjoying the day.
Cocken Lodge is ideal for beginners with the range, practice facilities and nine-hole course."
Chaired by the late David Atkinson, the Durham County Golf Partnership's new initiative goes a long way towards providing youngsters in the region with competitive golf and professional tuition.
In a personal tribute to David, Jason said: "It was a massive shock when I found out that David had passed away. I'd only known David for about a year or so but in that time we had become very close. He was a great guy, very enthusiastic, and overly dedicated to everything he took on.
"As Chairman of the Durham Golf Partnership, he was brilliant and of course he was instrumental in setting up the Junior Golf Tour and it's just a massive shame that after putting all the hard work in, he couldn't be here today to witness the results. David would have loved this and I have absolutely no doubt, he would want us to move forward and build on its success."
For further information on the Junior Golf Tour 2009 or to book a place on the tour visit www.durhamgolfpartnership.com or alternatively contact Jason on 07726 601 724.