Monday, July 19, 2010

Neil Hampton to be Royal Dornoch

Golf Club's general manager

Neil Hampton, currently Golf and Marketing Director of Fairways Leisure and Secretary to the Loch Ness Golf Club at Castle Heather, Inverness. is leaving his post at the end of August to take up the position of General Manager at the world famous Royal Dornoch Golf Club in Sutherland.
He was selected from over 50 applicants, many of which were of a very high calibre succeeding John Duncan who had been in the post for the lat sixteen yeara and who took early retirement in the Spring.
Coming from a golfing background, Hampton will take to Royal Dornoch, whose links course is ranked 15th in the World, a wealth of golf club management, having spent the last few years developing Fairways and its three golf courses, driving range, lounge bar and restaurant facilites.
Born in Burntisland, Fife in 1967, he was only one year old when his parents uprooted and moved to the Western Islands where his father, George, was appinted professional/greenkeeper and clubhouse steward to the Stornway golf club.
The family - he has an elder brother Graham - remained in Stornaway until his father took over as professional/greenkeeper at Fortrose and Rosemarkie Golf Club in 1975 where Neil honed out his golf swing, considered by many as the truest in the North. Through the years, Neil dominated events at Fortrose and  Rosemarkie. He has won their open a staggering 10 times and the Black Isle foursomes six times.
In 1985 he became a trainee technician with the Highland Council before joining its Accident and Prevention Unit of the Roads and Transport Department. He later took up his post at Fairways.
When his parents moved from Fortrose to Pitlochry, where father George became the club professional, he and his brother set up house in Inverness and Neil became a member of the The Nairn Golf Club where with a scratch and at times better handicap rating he soon became a prominent scratch winner and automatic choice in the North District's team.
In 1995 and 2000 Neil was a member of the North teams who won the Scottish Area Team Championships at Edzel and East Kilbride and he twice won the North championship at Brora (1991) and Nairn (1995). Latterly he served a term on the North Executive with responsibility for developing the junior coaching programme.
Since the introduction of the Inverness four-day open tournament, Hampton has a record of being in eight finals, winning four of them plus also winning 36-hole opens from Forres to Brora and even making a nostalgic winning return to Stornaway one year.
A member of the James Braid Golf Society, Neil, and wife Fiona, a special events co-ordinator with Highland Council, and their seven-year-old son Max are looking forward to moving to Dornoch where they were married in 2000.
James Campbell, Captain of the Royal Dornoch Golf Club, is looking forward to working with neil in taking the club forward and Neil said after his appointment that he is looking forward to the challenges ahead where unlike Loch Ness he can expect up to meet and greet up to 9,000 visiting golfers each year, many of them from overseas.
Last word from Neil Hampton himself, which gives an insight into his decision:
"I am very honoured to be given the opportunity to take the helm at Royal Dornoch and help the existing staff and committee into the next stage of the club's evolution. Royal Dornoch Golf Club is steeped in history and tradition but thinks in the 21st century and this is what appealed to me. There are many challenges in golf at the moment but I think that together we can put the club and course back to where it belongs.
"It wasn't an easy decision to leave Loch Ness Golf Course and Fairways as I have had many happy years and put a lot of myself into it but Royal Dornoch was too big an offer to turn down and I look forward to applying myself just as much to this new role."



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