Paul Terras Marks Three Decades as Goswick Golf Links’ Head Professional

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Paul Terras is married to his wife, Shona, not his job as head professional at Goswick Golf Links. But, often, the distinction between the two can be a wee bit blurry.

Going the Distance — Goswick Captain Paul Holmes joins with Paul and Shona Terras in celebrating the couple’s 30th year at the James Braid-designed links course.

“I started at Goswick in April 1991,” says Terras of the James Braid-designed links course just south of Berwick-upon-Tweed. “Shona and I got married on the Saturday and I started here on the Monday. So, still at Goswick and still married. To the same woman.”

Do the maths and that means Terras is now marking his 30th anniversary, on both fronts. That longevity suggests he made the right choice, again on both fronts.

When it comes to the golf, Goswick is ranked the 50th best course in England by National Club Golfer and among the top 100 links courses in Great Britain and Ireland by Golf World.

“There is no better course in Northumberland, that’s for sure,” says Terras. “And, I know I’m biased, but I truly believe it’s one of the best links courses in the world. It’s just not as well-known as some of the others on that list.”

For Terras, the initial appeal was the promise of stability at a crucial juncture in his professional golf career. The Fife native was a quick study at the game. He played his first official round on a course when he was 16 and went from a 19 to a 2 handicap in that first year.

Rather than pursue an undergraduate degree at a university, Terras opted instead to become an assistant pro at Dunbar Golf Club in East Lothian when he turned 17. Then, after completing his apprenticeship, he tried his hand on the Tartan Tour for five years, competing against the likes of Paul Lawrie before he claimed the Open Championship in 1999.

“But when I got engaged to Shona, I decided I’d had enough of the traveling around and wanted to get a head pro job,” Terras says. “That led me to Goswick.”

Over the years, Terras says the game has undergone enormous change. There was the boom of the 1990s, attributed in large part to the emergence of Tiger Woods. There was the introduction of high-tech and high-priced equipment, kicked off by Callaway and its Big Bertha driver. There was the financial crash of 2008, leading to a bit of a retrenchment. And, now, there’s been a surge in golf’s popularity — one of the few silver linings of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goswick has also changed, most notably earning the R&A’s endorsement as a regional qualifying venue for the Open Championship.

“For me, the big change has been that I don’t give as many lessons — though I still enjoy it  — and now focus more on managing visitor bookings, competitions and handicaps. I’ve also made changes in the shop. We still carry some equipment, but now put much more emphasis on clothing and accessories.”

“But the way I look at it, the shop is about more than selling merchandise,” he continues. “For most people, it’s the first port of call at the club. Whether you’re a visitor or a member, my main concern is that you have a great experience. Goswick might not be the easiest place to get to. But it’s well worth the journey.”