THE appearance of 2011 British Open champion Darren Clarke is set to head the cast for next year’s eagerly-anticipated Centenary celebrations at Newtownstewart Golf Club.
While final details of Clarke’s expected appearance are still to be finalised, it is hoped the Ryder Cup favourite will take to the Baronscourt course in mid July, by which time a jam-packed programme of festivities will be in full swing.
During his visit organisers are hoping the Dungannon native will spend some time giving useful tips to those involved in the club’s flourishing junior section while sharing his many memorable experiences with club members.
That never-to-be-forgotten occasion will come in the midst of a meticulously planned calendar of anniversary events that get underway with the election of office bearers at club’s AGM on January 8.
Thereafter it’s full steam ahead, beginning with the Captains’ Drive-in on March 8, followed by a visit to Balmoral Golf Club, who are also celebrating a century in business in 2014.
April brings forth an Edwardian breakfast with some members suited and booted in the relevant attire, followed by a summer barbecue at Baronscourt Castle in June. And, after the dust has settled in the wake of Clarke’s appearance, comes the release of a centenary book and an interdenominational service in Baronscourt church in early October.
A year of unprecedented celebrations will come to a fitting climax with a gala ball in November.
Centenary captain John Colhoun said excitement was building towards a hughly significant year that will see the opening of a new golf academy to enhance the ongoing infrastruture developments at the club.
“Next year promises to be a great year for all the members and is certainly eagerly-aniticipated by those who have been members for many many years,” said the incoming captain.
“The centenary committee has been working for the past two years planning events for the celebrations.
“During that time there has also been significant expenditure on the clubhouse and the course. Quite a bit of work has been done on the tee boxes, the fairways have never been in better condition while a programme started earlier in the season that will have long-term benefits for the greens. Members will see a significant improvement next season.
“In addition to that we will open the new golf academy, particially funded by a contribution from Strabane District Council, some time in March. That facility will include a six-bay driving range which will come under the supervision of our resident professional Brian Patterson.
“We have one of the best practice grounds any club could wish for and the academy will be a great addition for all members, including the large number of juniors.
“There are a lot of positive things happening and there is certainly a great buzz about the place.”
No centenary year would be complete with the recording the events of the first 100 years.
On October 9 – the 100th anniversary of the first ever meeting of some 40 members – “One Hundred Years of Golf at Baronscourt” compiled by Jimmy Mackin and Canon Harry Trimble will be launched.
It will record the Reverend Hamilton, rector of Baronscourt Parish Church, was the first ever captain, that the course is built on lands belonging to club patron, the Duke of Abercorn and will include many of the anticipated highlights of 2014.