Under the management of Gary Shipley, Parklands Golf Club at High Gosforth Park is taking huge steps towards becoming one of the region's premier golfing facilities.
Earlier this year we reported on the new 18 hole mini golf course and in recent weeks, the club has now opened a completely new driving range and re-furbished golf shop.
Gary explained: "We've managed to finish the mini golf and we are now in the stage where we've got the driving range and new pro shop completed. The shop is slightly smaller than it used to be but we've taken over the franchise and we are fully stocked with all the major brands. We also now have a new repair and fitting room upstairs and Ping have come to join us.
"Ping Golf Equipment has a fitting centre at Gainsborough and having visited Parkland and seen what we have accomplished, the company has decided to base their North of England operations here, making us the region's main fitting centre. We will be using our own staff, who will receive training at the Ping factory on how to deliver their products and fit out all our customers. Having Ping associated with us raises the profile of Parklands and the whole Park in general, so it's just great."
And it's not only Ping who have declared an interest at Parklands, Mizuno have also visited the club and it appears that they could be setting up a northern fitting centre in the very near future.
The old two tier driving range has now gone and has been replaced by a modern 30 bay single tier facility. Gary said: "The driving range is now up and running with new bays and mats and is carpeted throughout. It basically now has a clean fresh look, much neater and tidier."
"One of the bays is to be used for teaching and another purely for club fitting. The guys will have the technology in there to provide a first class service."
The changes at Parklands are impressive as are the credentials of the management team now in place: "In the shop we have Craig Featherston," Gary said and added, "He is the shop manager. Simon McWhirter is the Junior Development Coach and will be responsible for delivering golf into schools in partnership with Newcastle University.
"We want to have a Junior Academy here at Parklands and that Academy will be developed, not only on the back of mini golf but the youngsters can start there and alongside that, we'll be coaching and developing kids right the way through to the stage where they can join the club. It's going to be a complete facility, where you start at whatever age and progress up to standard where you can fully enjoy the game of golf.
"Greg Tarplee has joined us from Ramside and he will be working with our Head Teaching Professional Mark Watkins. And of course, we have David King, the Duty Manager. David has worked at Parklands since 1992 and he is responsible for overseeing the running of the club."
Gary and his team are looking forward to the challenge ahead and there is no doubt that with their expertise, along with the considerable investment, Parklands Golf Club can look forward to a very bright future.