NEW Barrow pro Paul Rawlinson hopes to help take the club forward after landing his 'dream job'.

The PGA professional has taken up the reins at Barrow following the departure of Mike Newton – rejoining a club he first became a member of as a junior 30 years ago.

Rawlinson left his role at the Zone Golf driving range – which has now been demolished after a takeover at the Fairway Hotel – to take up the new opportunity.

He hopes to help advance the well-develop junior section at the Rakesmoor Lane club, and believes golf in the area generally is doing well – against the general national trend of decline.

“It's a club I have an affinity with,” said Rawlinson, who was a junior and senior member at Barrow, before turning professional aged 21. “You can't miss the opportunity when it comes up. It's a dream job – it's somewhere I have grown up, spent loads of time. It was like my second home as a kid, and it's probably like my second home now.

“We want to advance the junior section again, provide a great service with coaching, and we want to develop the club, we want to help the club move forward – and I will be an integral part of that.

“Golf in the area, in my opinion, is thriving. It's bucking the national trend. The national trend is for losing membership, but up here we appear to be going in the right direction.”

Rawlinson was the assistant professional at Barrow for three years in the late 1990s, before taking on the pro's role at Keswick and then setting up camp at the driving range.

He has brought assistant professional Gareth Butcher with him from the range, and is looking to take advantage of his role as a coach in schools for the Tri-Golf programme to help the pair further boost a junior section which has flourished in recent years.

“We've got a link in with the schools through the Tri-Golf competition, we'll have a presence from the golf club there, using the work I do in the schools to build up the junior section here,” he said.

“Rather than taking the children to the driving range, we will bring them straight to the golf club, and hopefully we can see the junior section go from strength to strength.”

Rawlinson has been pleased with the response he has had from Barrow members since hie return to the club in an official role after a near-20-year absence.

He added: “I've had a great response. The majority of members are people I already knew. I was a junior, a senior and the assistant pro up here, so I have known them for years and years.”