If a person has a long-time email address that incorporates the words "golf-mad" you know they love the sport.

For James Darby, being named manager of the Cochrane Golf Club allows him to combine his passion and knowledge of the sport with his leadership skills from the British Army and recent role as director of recreation and community services in Hay River, NWT.

"It's really exciting. I wouldn't put my name forward for this job if I didn't think there was potential in the course," says Darby who also managed, and played golf for the British Army and was a one-time scratch golfer.

Darby believes it's an ideal course in the heart of Cochrane that has much to offer for golfers of all ages and skill levels and that's what attracted him to the position.

"Whoever designed this golf course clearly knew what they were doing because it's just a fantastic course. What is fascinating about it is you can put any level of golfer on here from beginner to experienced golfer and it offers a great experience for all."

He's particularly proud of their tough par 3 Hole 8 from the back tee that they recently named their signature hole. 

"It's one of the best-looking holes you're going to see in Alberta. I just changed it to our signature golf hole because it's a tough, tough golf hole."

Under Darby's leadership, the course wants to encourage more people to come to enjoy the course and learn the sport. They will be paying particular attention to helping youth learn the game. They have youth golf camps planned in June and July and he suspects they'll also be offering camps in August and September.

He says the mini-golf course developed a few years ago at the club is also a great way to introduce youngsters to the sport.

It goes beyond youth, though. They are interested in developing the club's entire culture from beginners through advanced. That means creating a social atmosphere at the course conducive to the whole family.

"Another reason why I like this course is the social element for the entire family. It's a really nice atmosphere and the course is tricky. It tests your skills."

For those who seek it, there is instruction available onsite for beginner and immediate golfers and a pro is available for more advanced golfers.

They will be showing off what the course offers by introducing the Cochrane Open Golf Championship, Aug. 4-5.

He's proud of the staff and their commitment to the course and to their clients.

"They're a great staff and they're all very very passionate about the game and making sure we provide service to the people of Cochrane," says Darby.

Darby isn't a stranger to Cochrane. He and his family originally moved here in 2013. The British Major was in charge of the Trail's End Camp, northwest of Cochrane. He returned to Britain to continue to serve in the military but when his family was accepted for residency in Canada he didn't hesitate to retire and return. After spending time in the Northwest Territories, he returned to Cochrane in March.

Besides golfing, he has been heavily involved in youth and adult soccer and is currently a member of the Cochrane Rangers board.

The Cochrane Golf Club was established in 1991.

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