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Middlesbrough South MP Simon Clarke tried his hand at hitting a few shots when he officially opened Middlesbrough Golf Club’s new driving range and academy.

Supported by Sport England with a £65,000 grant from its lottery-funded Inspired Facilities Scheme as well as money from the club’s funds, the new six-bay range was built by local company Protective Systems Limited.

Clarke praised the club’s initiative and hard work in putting together the bid before cutting the ribbon to open the range and then trying a few shots.

The covered range has five practice bays and a state-of-the-art coaching bay equipped with the latest technology and coaching aids – much to the delight of club professional Gordon Cattrell.

“It’s superb,” he said. “It provides members with an all-weather practice facility and offers schools, colleges, disabled people and seniors groups an opportunity to get into golf through lessons and coaching.”

Club chairman Bryan Sloper said there has already been “an enthusiastic welcome from member and visiting groups.”

Groups interested in lessons and coaching should contact Cattrell, tel 01642 311 766 or email or contact Karen Smith, the club’s office manager, tel 01642 311 515.