Mini course comes up to par

Former Sunderland footballer Gary Bennett with members f  Wearside Golf Club.
Former Sunderland footballer Gary Bennett with members f Wearside Golf Club.

A mini golf course is suiting players to a tee after it was launched as part of a club’s 125th birthday celebrations

The £85,000 project at Wearside Golf Club has proved a hit with visitors to the Cox Green course.

The course has been set up next to the clubhouse - thanks to a grant of £70,000 by Sport England and the rest met from the club’s own funds.

It was unveiled as part of a launch of the club’s academy, with Sunderland AFC legend Gary Bennett and captain Howard Walton among the first to take a shot on the new green.

They were joined by captains John Chaytor, Linda Lowes, William Girdwood and Honorary Captain Harvey Craig as well Elliott Moon and Millie Hixon, who have been tipped by club bosses as “future stars.”

The par-three course has been set up to offer older and younger members a place to play and pratice, as well as encourage more people to give the sport a try.

The course’s completion was possible thanks to the support of Sunderland City Council, which backed the grant application, with work starting on the land two years ago,

Club chairman Jim Dutton said: “It’s there for anybody to try but we are finding it popular with a lot of older members, some in their 80s, who can’t manage a game on the full course. We’re also trying to get in new members.

“It’s ideal. We still have the 18 hole course, which is very popular and excellent to play.”

Non-members are welcome to play at the course.

The club was formed in December 1892 and its first course was in Pallion before the move was made to Cox Green.