UPTON-BY-CHESTER has been recognised as one of the very best golf clubs in the country for people to take up the sport.

The thriving Upton Lane club was named as one of two runners-up for the Golf Mark Club of the Year Award at the England Golf Partnership’s county golf development conference at Loughborough University.

The England Golf award, now in its fifth year, recognises clubs that make an outstanding and innovative contribution to junior and beginner golf, showing a willingness to improve and develop.

Melanie Flude, regional development officer for England Golf, said: “With over 600 clubs Golf Mark accredited, coming second is a remarkable achievement for Upton.

“They were also the only club to be nominated in the whole of Cheshire.”

Steve Dewhurst, the club’s professional, said: “At Upton we pride ourselves on making golf inclusive not exclusive.

“We take golf to people as much as invite everyone to visit us here and give it a go.”

Upton-by-Chester finished second along with Leamington & County Golf Club in Warwickshire.

Winners were Garon Park in Essex, a club which was in the doldrums until Alan Walker bought it out of administration three years ago.

Their remarkable victory has inspired Dewhurst to go again for glory in 2014.

He said: “I don’t mind coming second to Garon Park, especially as they came back from administration in 2010 to 65,000 rounds of golf a year – that’s a heck of story.

“But what we learnt from Alan and his team we’ll simply push home at Upton in 2013, so we’re nominated again and win next year.”

Jenny Turner, junior organiser at Upton-by-Chester, said: “We’ve taken a long time to get Golf Mark under the skin of our club and now it’s time for our focus on juniors and learners to pay dividends as it has done for Garon Park.”