Welcome to the latest edition of Northern Golfer on the eve of what promises to be another season of golfing ups and downs.
We have had a bit of a refresh with new features, more stories and bigger platforms to shout loud and proud about everything that is good in the sport in our region.
One story which has had the world of golf talking, and not just Northern Golfers, is the remarkable one of Graeme Storm – so we make no apology for featuring him as our cover star.
His emotional 84-day rollercoaster of losing his card, regaining it, then winning the South African Open to secure his European Tour playing rights until the end of 2018 is almost unbelievable.
Graeme has been a great ambassador for the region and so it was with some pride we watched him lift the trophy having defeated Rory McIlroy in a playoff and, once he had come back to earth, he told us exactly what the last few weeks have been like.
Away from the pro scene, we have introduced a new feature, A Round With… where well-known names, but not necessarily well-known golfers, talk us through their love of golf. The first person to take to the fairways is Paul Blake, owner and managing director of the incredibly successful Newcastle Eagles basketball team. You’ll find him on page 40.
This issue also includes an expanded Gear section to help you prepare for the months ahead with the latest equipment on the market, we also check out courses in North Berwick and visit Bedlingtonshire to review one of the region’s finest parkland courses.
Entries are now open for our popular Matchplay Pairs competition (see page 54) and we have a number of new events planned over the coming year. Look out for details in forthcoming issues.
Plus there is a new column from Dean Bailey, Chris Paisley’s Tour Life featuring a hole-in-one as part of an encouraging start to his season, and all the news from clubs, pros and amateurs from the area.
From the Bunker sees Marcus Armitage autograph hunting with a difference and a surprise caddy for the British Masters at Close House after a Twitter campaign featuring a postman and Sergio Garcia.
So there is plenty for you to enjoy as you relax before or after your final few weeks of winter golf. See you in April.