A golf professional who has tutored some of Hollywood's biggest stars has been named as the new head pro at the region's newest golf course. Tom Godwin recently took up his new role at the five-star Rockliffe Hall hotel, golf and spa resort and says he has found his dream job regardless of his contacts with the A-list.
The North East's newest course, Rockliffe Hall, a 7,879-yard lay-out at Hurworth near Darlington, opened to members in July.
The 31-year-old has taken up the golfing hot seat at Rockliffe Hall having helped celebrities such as Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones with their golf games.
He also counts Ryder Cup stars Darren Clarke, Thomas Bjorn and David Howell as regular playing partners.
But it is Tom's background at some of the most high profile golf developments which prompted Rockliffe Hall to appoint him as head pro.
Tom, who is originally from Yorkshire, has held positions at Abbeydale Golf Club in Sheffield, at Gleneagles in Scotland and most recently at the exclusive private members' club at Queenwood in Surrey.
Managing director of Rockliffe Hall, Nick Holmes, said: "Tom's background is second to none. He has tremendous experience at some of the best golfing destinations in the UK, and that is exactly the type of experience we have been looking for.
"We know our golf members and visitors alike will warm to Tom's easy-going and friendly approach. We knew some time ago that Tom would be our man and we are thrilled to have him here at Rockliffe Hall."
Tom himself states modestly: "I cannot deny that helping some big-names stars with their game was quite an experience. But it just goes to show how popular the game has become recently.
"I am very excited about the move to Rockliffe Hall. To be in at the very start of somewhere like this is very special indeed. This is a hugely ambitious project, and I hope I can help make Rockliffe Hall famous for its golf just as much as the hotel and the spa. It's an incredible development where they have thought of everything to create the perfect golf experience."
Now fully open, Rockliffe Hall boasts one of the longest courses in Europe, but Tom adds: "Not everybody has to play the course at its full length. There are five individual tee boxes on each hole, so it will be a fair challenge for all levels of golfers."
Tom has also been joined by assistant pro, Tim Cockill.
The 24-year-old Sports Management graduate turned professional last year, having admittedly been addicted to golf since the age of eight.
Tim, who spent his early years at his local course, The York Golf Club, arrives at Rockliffe Hall from Slaley Hall in Northumberland, where he spent two-and-a-half years as golf service manager.