FURNESS Golf Club members are gearing up for one of the biggest days in the club’s long and proud history.

Formed in 1872, the Walney links is the sixth-oldest club in England, and several special events are taking place this year to celebrate the club’s 145th anniversary.

The highlight of these takes place on Friday May 5 when Furness hosts its first pro-am since 1984.

The PGA North event will see several professionals cross Jubilee Bridge to play in a pro-am, with the most high-profile being six-times Walker Cup star Gary Wolstenholme MBE.

Back in 1984, the likes of the late, great snooker ace Alex Higgins and top professionals Howard Clark and Gordon Brand took to the Furness fairways, though none of them could match the achievements of one Andrew ‘Chubby’ Chandler.

Now better known as an agent for the likes of Lee Westwood and 2016 US Masters champion Danny Willett, Chandler shot rounds of 65 – a new Furness course record – and 66 – to win the Telemeter Engineering Northern PGA Tournament representing Mere Golf Club.

While the 1984 event was played over two rounds for the professionals followed by a round with the amateurs, this year’s tournament will be entirely pro-am and played over 18 holes.

It promises to be a massive sporting spectacle for the area and one which Furness finance chairman Bill Barker is very excited about.

“Because it is our 145th anniversary we were tasked with planning some special events and the main one is the 145 pro-am,” said Barker, who, along with club captain Ian Murray and lady vice-captain Jane Trelore, formed a sub-committee tasked with organising 145th anniversary events.

“The last time we staged an event like this at Furness Golf Club was 33 years ago when the star was ex-world snooker champion Alex Higgins and Chubby Chandler, who is now the agent for a lot of today’s top professionals, broke the course record.

“There will be 20 professionals from the Northern PGA, one of which will be Gary Wolstenhholme, MBE, (who plays at Kendal club Carus Green).

“It’s a major event for us, we haven’t done it for 33 years. The PGA are excited about it. The first year is the hardest. If we can make a success of it, as we intend to do, we can perhaps keep it going. It all depends on how well it goes.

“The course is in great condition and everything else so we are anticipating it to be a big success.

“It should be a good advert for Furness Golf Club and a good advert for Barrow.”

Teams of four – comprising three amateurs and one professional – will do battle, with prizes at stake for amateurs and professionals. Players will tee-off all day from 9am, with a meal and awards presentation to follow.

“We have got a mixed entry of gents and ladies, which is positive,” added Barker.

“We have had good support from our suppliers and local golf clubs such as Barrow Golf Club, Ulverston Golf Club. Kirkby Lonsdale have put teams in the pro-am and Grange Golf Club have supported our team-of-four event in September.

“We intend to make it a big success, and make sure the professionals and amateurs have a good day. We have got some good prizes for both amateurs and professionals and they will get a big Furness Golf Club welcome.

“We would to thank all the sponsors and all the entries and hope they have a great day.”

Captain Ian Murray said: “It’s a massive coup for us to get these pro golfers to come up to Barrow and it should be a great day. We thought we should do something special with it being our 145th anniversary and it’s a nice warm-up for our 150th, which isn’t too far away.”

Other events planned include a sportsman’s dinner, and a team-of-four competition.

Anyone wishing to enter the pro-am can call the club on 01229 471232 or email w.a.barker@btinternet.com

Entries are £240 per team of four – including a professional. Professionals can be provided by the PGA, or players can pick their own. Businesses or individuals can also sponsor a hole for £50.