DAVID Rishworth is to step down as head professional at West End Golf Club and has given his full backing to his successor Darren Arber.
Arber, who has been his righthand man in the pro's shop at the Norton Tower 18-hole club for 19 years, is to take over from the beginning of the season on April 1.
The news was revealed to members at Friday's men's annual dinner at the clubhouse and Rishworth, one of the area's longest-serving club professionals, said: "I am stepping down to pursue other interests. For the last 10 years I have been a referee at home and abroad and I would like to do more of that.
"It will be nice to have a bit of time off. I've been in this job for the last 32 years, 26 at this club.
"I've hardly ever had a week off. I'll be 54 in June and I don't want to get to 60 and then realise there were things I should have tried earlier.
"I certainly don't look at it as a step back in my career. I hope it will be to my advantage even though I have enjoyed every minute of what I have been doing."
Rishworth, who refereed at the US PGA in August 2009, still plans to work two or three days a week at West End. He added: "Darren knows the club inside out and I am sure he will take the club forward into a new era.
"He is very competent and forward thinking and he will bring new ideas which will be to everyone's benefit.
"I still intend to keep in with all my mates here and give any assistance I can because the club has been brilliant to me over the years."
Arber, who is 36 and joined the club as a 14-year-old, described it as a "fantastic opportunity".
He added: "I've served quite a long apprenticeship but I couldn't have done it under anyone better.
"One of the reasons I have stayed at the club as long as I have is because of David."
Arber said he hoped to build on his teaching and club repair work and had some new ideas he hoped to implement in the near future.
"I am also pleased for David because now he can do what he wants to do.
"He has been in the game a long time and this is giving him a new lease of life - I am already seeing a difference in him."
It is a second major change at West End in the space of a few months, the club having appointed a new administration manager in Steve Boustead.
Boustead, 52 this month, is a retired police officer who lives in Diggle, Saddleworth with his wife and two daughters. He is a past secretary at Marsden Golf Club and currently the treasurer there.
He successfully completed the Golf Club Managers Association Certificate course at Buckingham New University in 2009.
Friday's dinner was the first he has organised at the club and it went very smoothly. Almost 100 people attended and the speakers were captain Will Frankish, vice captain Tom Coulter, Union president Geoff Ralph and Clive Gott, a motivational speaker.
CLUB TROPHY WINNERS 2010: Campbell Bowl, C.Burke; Hinchliffe Trophy, S.Major; Asquith Cup, M.Godfrey; Ramsden Bateman, S.Martin; Veterans Trophy, A.R.Calvert; Annual Medal Trophy, I.Marsland; Scratch Salver, D.Stafford; Millennium Jug, M.Sheldrake; Foursomes Trophy, J.Stott and L.Brompton; Fourball Trophy, J.Stott and B.Hardcastle; Captain's Putter, A.Earnshaw; Captain's Prize, L.Tomlinson.
Hole in one trophies: G.Thornton, T.Coulter, A.R.Calvert, M.F.Greaves, D.R.Lister, D.Rollinson, P.G.Ineson, J.Hulme, M.Sheldrake, R.Elsworth, J.Kirkwood, C.Ingham, J.Clay.