A CLOSURE-HIT golf course is due to officially reopen its doors to the public today after months of work behind the scenes.

Speaking exclusively to The Cumberland News, Jim Douglas - who is the new operator of Stony Holme Golf Course - confirmed that club was set to reopen to golfers today.

Mr Douglas said the course had been ready to open for more than two weeks, but has been waiting for the final paperwork to be signed off.

He signed on the dotted line on Wednesday, picking up the keys the following day.

The Carlisle course closed suddenly six months ago after operator Mack Golf ceased trading and entered into voluntary administration.

Last month Mr Douglas - the ex-managing director of the former social enterprise leisure trust known as CLL - took over the role as the club's new operator.

Speaking on Wednesday, he said: "I went into my solicitors this morning, signing a lot of documents, which is a completion from our point of view."

Carlisle City Council bosses are believed to have signed their documents on the same day.

"The course is still a work in progress to get it to where it should be," explained Mr Douglas.

Card machines are expected to be set up at the club on April 26, but until then the club can only accept cash and cheques.

Mr Douglas has received lots of support from people at the club.

"Anyone and everyone, whoever I speak to are all very supportive, wishing me the best of luck, and are keen to go through the proper practices (paying for a round), rather than hoping they don't get caught.

"I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know as many people as possible and hopefully they enjoy the course and continue to throughout the summer."

The process of getting the course back to 100% condition is ongoing.

"It all depends on the weather because the irrigation system hasn't been recommissioned yet, so we haven't been able to water the greens.

"If we can get some water on that would be great. If we can get some water on there, in three/four weeks time it will be 90% there.

"By the end of May/June it should be close to 100%."

Mr Douglas continued: "I have got a good set of ground people but not enough. Some have been working seven days a week to get the course to where it is now, working 40, 50, 60 hours a week.

"Ladies who worked with me at CLL have been helping, they have been working out what needs to be done in the club and getting people on the payroll.

"So far it has been without pay, so I am indebted to them."

He continued: "It is a great relief we are there, it is sort of like a bit of nervous energy and a bit of excitement. We got there in the end."

It is not just the course that needs the attention of everyone at the club.

"I need to get the catering and bar sorted out," explained Mr Douglas.

"Until it was signed we couldn't move forward.

"We can't spend huge amounts of money in the hope it (the course) will open." Mr Douglas added: "Hopefully golfers will come and play a round a golf."

The fact of the club reopening was never a doubt for Mr Douglas.

"I always had faith the course would reopen, the only issue is I wish it would have been done a little sooner."

Memberships are to be charged at £400 a year, or £37 a month on direct debit.

A round of golf during the week will cost £17 and £21 at the weekend.

Discounts will be applied for junior golfers.