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Former Lincoln City manager Grant Brown is first ambassador at Stoke Rochford Golf Club

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Former Stamford-based FCV International Football Academy manager Grant Brown has been recruited to the ambitious team at Stoke Rochford Golf Club in their quest for continued growth following lockdown.

The former Leicester City and Lincoln City defender has agreed to become the first club ambassador at Stoke Rochford, a new role designed to help increase membership and improve corporate activity and society bookings.

The 96-year-old club have come out of the sporting lockdown fighting and reported a growth in membership despite the closure of the course during a critical time when fees were due.

Club chairman Adrian Stannard with Grant Brown.
Club chairman Adrian Stannard with Grant Brown.

Brown, 50, has played the parkland course regularly throughout the last decade and last year was the club’s first guest speaker at their revamped Captains Open evening.

He explained: “I have always liked the golf course and the people here.

“The assistant professional suggested I could maybe get involved in an ambassadorial role and it has grown from there.

“My role is to make people aware of the golf course and the club itself and how good it is.

“Some people may drive past it and not even know it’s there. It’s a hidden gem.

“It has easy access off the A1 and it’s just a nice place to come to. When a lot of clubs were losing members, Stoke have been gaining members which speaks volumes.”

Brown joins as the golf season begins to build momentum after the seven-week nationwide closure of courses ended in May.

After further relaxations to the coronavirus lockdown earlier this month, up to four players are now allowed back on to the tee and the competition season at Stoke Rochford is expected to resume later this month.

The club is already making preparations for next month’s Captains Weekend, their biggest members’ event of the season.

Stoke has other impressive football ties with club chairman Adrian Stannard regularly donning the goalkeeping gloves for England’s national veteran sides.

Stannard said: “We believe this is an exciting opportunity for the external and internal promotion of the golf club as we emerge from the current Covid situation.

“Grant’s extensive sporting and corporate contacts will enhance and further our prospect for commercial growth.”

Brown started his life in professional football at Leicester, but became a fans’ favourite at Sincil Bank where he made a club record 469 appearances during a 13-year stay.

Golf has been a lifelong passion for the former centre-half since joining Wearside Golf Club in his native Sunderland as a junior, but he is still looking to improve on the greens.

Brown added: “I have got to do my three cards to get my handicap, but my game is okay.

“I can hit the ball a decent long way, but putting is still my Achilles heel.”

Brown, who was last year inducted into Lincoln City’s Hall of Fame, follows a well-trodden path of professional footballers from training pitch to the golf course.

He continued: “Footballers, like most sports people, are competitive animals and golf is a good way to keep the juices flowing.

“You have a three-foot putt to win a hole or a match, and you might be playing for nothing, but it still feels like you’re playing for a million pounds.”

Since hanging up his boots for good in 2006 following a swansong season with Grantham Town, Brown spent the next decade in coaching roles at Lincoln, including stints as caretaker manager and assistant boss.

He is currently mulling over his next full-time venture in football after recently leaving a four-year role as academy manager at the Stamford-based FCV International Football Academy.

He concluded: “I have a few irons in the fire, but I’ve got to play a bit of a waiting game until sport properly restarts.”

For more details about membership and golf for visitors, email office@stokerochfordgolfclub.co.uk

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