SKIPTON Golf Club has teed-up an exciting new era with the official opening of its brand-new Junior Academy, a £55,000 new-build development which forms an extension to the pro’s shop.

Incorporating a swing studio and golf simulator and set to boost junior and beginner coaching in particular, it is known as the ‘The Brian Rasche Junior Academy,’ with a major financial input from Brian’s son, David, like his late father a long-serving member of the club, as well as further investment from Club Professional Peter Robinson.

With a commemorative stone taking pride of place above the Junior Academy entrance, four generations of the Rasche family were present at the official opening ceremony, which was performed by David and Brian’s widow, Pat, joined by club representatives, among them president Sylvia Eastwood, men’s captain Roger Moore, immediate past Captain Ian Sewell, who had a major involvement in the project during his year in office, and long-serving club pro Peter. (Friday, March11)

David and Brian’s six-year-old great grandson, Jack, a pupil at Westville House School in Ilkley, were invited to hit the first shots on the new golf simulator.

Club stalwart Brian, who passed away in 2016 aged 92, was a member at Skipton for over 60 years, first joining in 1953, with half of that time spent on either the committee or board. He was a scratch team player and twice served as both Captain and President, as well as chairing the Greens Committee for many years.

Brian also project managed the building of the new clubhouse and in retirement Skipton Golf Club was his passion, notably his wholehearted support of the junior section and its teams, including following them at many matches over the years.

Son David, a highly successful Ilkley businessman who was brought up in Skipton and attended Ermysted’s Grammar School, has himself been a long time Skipton member, first joining as a junior in 1958. He has served on the committee several times, as well as on the board, and was part of the development committee establishing the new course following the Environment Agency’s flood alleviation project for Skipton, which involved building a new dam at the bottom of the course.

For the past ten years he has also organised a widely acclaimed charity golf day at the club for the On Course Foundation, which helps seriously injured veterans rehabilitate through golf. To date, the days have raised over £250,000.

After he and Pat had cut a ceremonial ribbon to declare The Brian Rasche Junior Academy officially open, David said: “My father would have felt this was an absolutely perfect legacy for himself to be remembered not just by people he knew, but all involved in the club.”

Captain Roger Moore said it was a milestone occasion for Skipton Golf Club. “The future of the club lies in our ability to attract new members, particularly the younger generation. The vision of Brian and support and generosity of David and family has allowed us to be where we are today. A lot of hard work has gone into this excellent new facility and you gave us the impetus,” he commented:

The project was first commissioned in autumn last year, with the construction completed by club member James Freebury.

The new Junior Academy will be used for coaching juniors, new golfers and members alike, and will also be utilised for practice on the indoor driving range.

Access to the academy for juniors is free, while other members will either pay for coaching, practice or competitive private golf sessions with friends. In addition, via the simulator members will be able to book the facility to play virtual golf on many courses from around the world.

The official opening was followed by a weekend nearest the pin competition to introduce the facility to all members. It was won jointly by Joe Deakin and Freddie Pearson with both finishing 3’7” from the pin on a 125-yard shot.

Ladies Captain Dagmar Hecker-Woodhead, who continues her work with Women in Golf and Skipton’s own Pathway into Golf – she has also led the application to England Golf for the club to become a centre for Girls Golf Rocks – said afterwards: “It will make a huge difference to the junior and beginner coaching, and be vital to attract new members. I already have 11 beginners and a further two academy members starting.”

Further info: Robin Moule on 07976 559961,