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Time to stand down as Dance steps into retirement

By David Birtill

MARK Dance won’t exactly waltz off into the sunset when he retires after 30 years as PGA professional at Stand Golf Club next month. But he’s looking forward to putting his feet up!

“I might even start playing again later in the summer because I will have the time,” he explained. “One of the unfortunate aspects in this job is being too busy making a living than trying to compete.

“I entered PGA North Region and Lancashire county events in the early days but stopped playing tournaments when I was 35.

“I always fancied competing at senior level but it never materialised, not because I wouldn’t have had a chance of winning but due to time restrictions.

“It would have been great to meet up with people from my era like Jack Hammond and others who I’ve not seen for ages.

“But I will keep my PGA status in case I feel like entering a few events.”

Dance has many fond memories and the “Stand-out” one was taking his club to three Dunham Forest Trophy finals, the most prestigious amateur team tournament in that renowned golfing metropolis of Greater Manchester.

“I played in it twice but unfortunately we lost all three,” he recalled.

“The club always allowed me to get on with my job and I’ve helped to increase the number of green fees over the years. They are marking my retirement with a golf day at the end of May when I’ll also celebrate my 56th birthday.”

His wife Anne retired as a school nursery nurse two years ago but neither of his offspring, Robert and Sophie, followed him into golf.

Dance, who learned the game as a junior at North Manchester Golf Club, started his professional career as an assistant at Great Lever and Farnworth in 1977 then moved to Leeds club Horsforth where he enjoyed success in the county alliances.

He returned to his native Lancashire to work as a coach with Frank Accleton at Rochdale then qualified in 1982 after moving to Brookdale.

Pictured is Mark Dance in his shop at Stand.