Feb 17 2011 Chester Chronicle
ACE of clubs Graham Tonge has time to reflect on a happy anniversary at Frodsham.
The 44-year-old is celebrating 20 years as head professional of the Simons Lane club.
His duties have involved giving more than 35,000 golf lessons to players of all ages and abilities.
Tonge can still be found in all weathers, coaching future stars of the game.
He has also carved a niche as a clubmaker, through his own brand of golf clubs. Also launched 20 years ago, they carry his name and logo.
Tonge said: “The unique service of bespoke custom-made golf clubs was frowned upon 20 years ago but has now become more common among the bigger manufacturers.”
Looking back, he admits the idea of making his own clubs was a gamble, but it has proved one well worth taking.
Through GT Golf, Tonge now looks after the clubs of many top club players along with those used by county and professional golfers.
“I have made more than 5,000 sets of irons, making my time at Frodsham enjoyable and very successful,” he added.
Tonge is also proud of his relationship with the owner and members at Frodsham.
He said: “The original proprietors had a very forward-thinking vision that put the golf club on the map.
“It was at that time against the grain at all golf clubs – to make Frodsham one of the UK’s first fully equal ladies and gents golf clubs.
“It was unique in that men and women could not only play the course at any time together but have equal say and equal vote as members and could play together in all competitions.
“This is something today’s legislation is now trying to encourage other clubs to do.”
Looking after his own business while fulfilling his responsibilities as club professional is a six-day-a-week balancing act for Tonge.
But he added: “I’m now looking forward to the next 20 years!”
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