Givens his all

Long-serving professional Ralph Givens has retired after 40 years at Darlington’s Blackwell Grange Golf Club.

Givens, who was born in Scotland, started work at Blackwell as assistant to Nigel Sumner having left college behind in Preston. When Sumner left in 1981 Givens was given the opportunity to become Blackwell’s head pro.

“I am going to play golf a lot more now,” said Givens. “I will play a bit more tennis at Blackwell Grange Tennis Club as well, but I am looking forward to actually playing some more golf. I will play different courses because I have my PGA card, so I can still use that. I have not played much over the last 20 years. I used to play in the North Region stuff in the 1980s. I was a member of that for years and I used to play in all the pro ams as well.”

Givens, 57, spent 24 years at Blackwell Grange before moving across the road to Stressholme.

In a twist of fate, the two clubs joined together and he became the head professional with his original club once more when Blackwell became the lead name.

A large portion of his life has been in Darlington, where he married his late wife Lesley while their daughter, Ellie, has been on the Ladies European Tour for the last five years.

“For Eleanor to be on Tour as long as she has been already is great, for her to maintain her career like that is a great achievement,” he said.