“I have big plans to get the Mayfair working again.”
Those are the words of new golf professional Craig Donaldson who takes the reins at the Mayfair Driving Range.
After living and working in Spain and Italy for the past few years, Craig has called this his ‘homecoming’ as he returns to the town where his golfing career started.
He told SportMail: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me and I can’t wait to get started.”
“It has been an amazing few years across Europe and now it is time that Hartlepool started enjoying the great sport again.
“The Mayfair is a fantastic place to be but it is not moving forward as it should be.
“I want to give the community a chance to get involved and enjoy playing golf and hopefully that won’t take too long.”
Craig takes over from Kevin Gow who has “left the door open to turn the place around” and enthusiastic 38-year-old Craig has a terrific outlook.
He said: “Hopefully I can find some way to get schools involved with the centre.
“The people of this community really deserve somewhere to enjoy golf and this is perfect.
“I was at the centre not long ago and I asked where everyone was playing golf now and unfortunately they are choosing to travel 15 miles to another facility.
“This place will be knocked into shape and hopefully the community will see what is going on and come back to playing at the Mayfair.”
Preparing over the winter is now on the agenda for Donaldson who wants to set up many different events so that the whole family can get involved.
Craig’s grandfather was the one who got him into golf and says: “It was a real family affair but now there is no motivation.
“Families need to be coming in to the place and enjoying the sport together.
“Hopefully with the funding I am trying to gain we can make things happen so that the Mayfair can be enjoyed for years to come.”
With the refurbishment in the shop and a new professional with a drive to succeed with the Mayfair, there are exciting times ahead for golf in Hartlepool.
After spending time teaching and coaching golf in Spain and Italy, Craig moved back to England and taught in Hertfordshire where he had schools involved in lessons.
He added: “The experience was amazing.
“I worked with some amazing players including Tom Lewis, Portuguese Open champion, and it was just brilliant to see so many people wanting to play.
“I was teaching 30 kids from schools all day every day and even disabled people wanted to get involved and the feeling you get when people enjoy the sport you love is fantastic.
“Now I want to work with people in my own community and let them have a chance to enjoy the sport I love so much.”