Celebrating 100 editions of Northern Golfer

As we publish our 100th edition, 12 years after launching what was then North East Golfer in February 2012, Dean Bailey reflects on the people, clubs and events we’ve covered and looks ahead to the future of Northern Golfer

Like any milestone, a 100th edition is time to reflect as we set our course for the next 100 Northern Golfer magazines.

After 12 years, 99 print editions and one digital magazine during Covid, it’s been tremendous fun to delve into the archives and look back at the fantastic – and at times hilarious – stories and photographs of players in their younger days.

In that time, we’ve printed nearly 1million copies of the magazine. Stalwarts have appeared on our cover multiple times. Lee Westwood – our very first cover star – has taken the spot five times (issues one, 14, 48, 57 and 73) – which is only fitting for a former world number one who calls our part of the world home. He’s tied for the most appearances with Graeme Storm, who has featured on the cover of issues two, 31, 41, 51 and 91.

We’ve also followed the careers of North East-born professionals closely throughout – covering both Graeme and Chris Paisley’s wins in the South African Open (#51 February 2017 and #61 February 2018 respectively) as well as sharing their thoughts through many Tour Life columns over the years.

We’ve also been fortunate to cover the success of many more top professionals. Yorkshireman Danny Willett donned a green jacket at Augusta and starred on the front page of issue 42 (April 2016), while Colin Montgomerie graced the front of issue 28 (October 2014), and the late Peter Alliss spent time with us for a cover feature in issue seven (September 2012).

More recently, leading lights of the professional game from our region have starred. Callum Tarren’s rise from playing in China to the PGA Tour has been one of the biggest stories of recent years and his two cover interviews (#52 April 2017 and #87 October 2021) tell the story of his rise to the top of the game. We’ve also spent time with DP World Tour players Dan Brown (#54 June 2017) and Marcus Armitage (#37 September 2015), while tracking the continued success of Andrew Wilson – who first appeared on the cover in August 2016 (#46) as an England international, then as a tour player in August 2019 (#76).

Garrick Porteous – who starred on the front cover as Amateur champion (#15 July 2013) has also featured regularly. Andrew and Garrick shared the front of issue 98 in December 2022 and we’re sure we’ll be seeing a lot more of them. There are also players like James Wilson, a regular in our pages and the first winner of our Junior Champion of Champions event (#39 November 2015), and Matty Lamb – a four-time cover star (#16, #33, #77 and #85) – who we’ve followed closely as he’s risen from being pipped to a Hadrian League Field Day title by his brother Chris (#7 September 2012) to starring for Great Britain & Ireland in the Walker Cup (#85 June 2021).

The development and success of female golfers is something we’ve been proud to cover in great detail, particularly in recent years. Our covers have featured many female golfers – from England Golf’s president-elect Chris Pascall to the women and girls who’ve shone in international competition.

There has been so much success for players such as Maggie Whitehead, Faye Wheatley, Rachel Gourley, Rosie Belsham, Jess Hall and 2022 Women’s Amateur champion Jess Baker and we have no doubt we’ll see lots more of them and those following in their footsteps.

The journey for so many players is remarkable to look back on. For example, Ellie Givens, who appears in this month’s Teeing Off section following success in Singapore, was in issue one after earning her LET card. Garrick Porteous was getting picked for a Great Britain & Ireland team and ranked 42nd in the World Amateur Golf Rankings back in issue two (April 2012). His fellow issue 98 cover star Andrew Wilson first appeared in our pages in issue 17 (September 2013) after winning the North of England Youths at Middlesbrough. There was also an early amateur appearance for Callum Tarren, pictured in issue 13 (May 2013) in his Durham kit having won a conference golfer of the week award at the University of Virginia.

Rachel Gourley was just seven years old when she made her first appearance in issue five (July 2012) after a top-five finish in the US Kids Golf European Championships. In issue 24 (June 2014), Jess Hall starred on the cover after becoming the youngest-ever winner of Durham’s County Championship. England international Maggie Whitehead was just 10 years old when, in issue 45 (July 2016), she headed off to Pinehurst for the US Kids Golf World Championships. That story shared the page with Rachel winning the club championship at Blyth at the age of 11.

Rosie Belsham and Jess Baker followed in issue 46 (August 2016) – Rosie finishing runner-up in Whitley Bay’s club championship at the age of 14 as Jess was in contention at the English U14s Championship.

We’ve also been fortunate to be inside the ropes for the biggest tour events in the region. The seniors’ tour has made three visits – twice to Rockliffe Hall and then to Close House in 2015. Two years later, the European Tour returned to the North East for the 2017 British Masters at Close House – with Rory McIlroy, Ian Poulter and Sergio Garcia among the stars who joined Lee Westwood. In 2020, when tour golf returned, the European Tour re-started back at Close House. We’ve also had multiple national PGA and EuroPro Tour visits over the last 12 years.

None of the stories we’ve told – or the fun we’ve had doing it – would have been possible without our partners. Clubs large and small, from across the region and beyond, have been with us every step of the way. So have our retail partners, travel operators and brand partners. Their continued support tells us we continue to add value to golf in the region.

Of course, the biggest thanks go to our readers. We publish 10,000 copies of each edition and we’re proud each one is read and enjoyed by golfers. Moving forward we’ll be producing bi-monthly editions. We’re increasing our digital output – on our website, social media channels and Northern Golfer Weekly emails – to ensure we’re engaging with the golfing community regularly between print editions too.

While we celebrate 100 editions, we’re more excited than ever to get on to the next one. See you in June/July and, with a little luck, for Northern Golfer 200 in December 2039.