Academy youngsters go head to head

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PROMISING young golfers in Northumberland weathered the worst of a British summer to take part in a special competition.

The event, held at Belford Golf Club, pitted those youngsters who had taken part in the Northumberland County Academy against each other.

Although the weather was atrocious, spirits stayed high and the course at Belford remained in remarkably good condition.

Adam Thomson, from Stocksfield Golf Club, came out on top in the boys’ handicap event with 41pts, two ahead of Matthew Armstrong (Hexham).

Stocksfield’s Sam Wilkinson took third on countback.

The girls’ handicap section was won by Emily McLintock, from the City of Newcastle club, with 34pts. She finished ahead of Lauren Cross (27pts, Bedlington GC) and Charlotte Tulip (21, Foxton Hall GC).

The County Academy offers a top-class coaching programme to those children interested in golf, but who may not be members of a golf club or even have an official handicap yet.

In the mixed non-handicap section, Beatrice Holliday, of Ponteland Golf Club, came out on top ahead of Kate Harvey (Tynemouth) and Jospeh Robson (Hexham).

Lisa Ferrie, county development officer for the Northumberland County Golf Partnership, said: “Those taking part all showed a tremendous attitude and commitment playing in the worst of the weather, while the course at Belford proved a great stage.”

The first steps towards getting involved in the 2011-12 County Academy programme take place in October when two free talent assessment days will be held. These are aimed at youngsters aged nine to 15. The assessment venues and dates are: Saturday, October 8: Close House Golf Club, 12pm–5pm; Sunday, October 9: Parklands Golf Club, 10am–4pm.

Anyone wishing to take part must complete an application form, available on the Northumberland County Golf Partnership’s website at www.northumberlandcgp.co.uk/county-academy-programme.

Further details are available from the Partnership’s county development officer Lisa Ferrie (email: cdonorthumberland@yahoo.com

“This will be of interest to anyone with an interest in playing golf, someone who would like to learn more about the game or players who are already members of a club or have a golf handicap,” explained Lisa Ferrie.

“The programme includes golfing psychology, course management, nutrition as well as 12 hours of technical coaching.”

After the assessment days have been completed all the children will be contacted through their parents.

Successful juniors will be given a personal programme to work towards and parents will be able to follow their child’s progression on line

The County Academy is one of a number of projects aimed at increasing participation in golf run under the umbrella of the Northumberland County Golf Partnership. This is a collaboration of a number of stakeholders in the sport including the English Golf Union, The English Women’s Golf Association, the PGA, the Golf Foundation and Sport England.

In Northumberland the partnership is supported by the Northumberland Union of Golf Clubs, the Northumberland Ladies County Golf Association, the Northumberland Junior Golfing Association and the Professional Golfers’ Association.

For more details of the activities in Northumberland visit www.northumberlandcgp.co.uk