Archive for the ‘Junior Golf’ Category

Youngsters get the Abbey habit


A JUNIOR golf academy launched by new  head PGA professional Ben Derbyshire at Vale Royal Abbey Golf Club  in Cheshire is proving to be a big hit with local youngsters.

Derbyshire and his assistant, Brian Cassidy, arrived at the club earlier this year and launched the academy with a free open day in March – and they’re planning another in 2018.

The day was combined with a seminar for parents to learn about the academy and it was a huge success with 60 young people attending and around 50 juniors going on to take coaching classes. These were run in eight-week blocks and the final session was a competition to test the juniors’ new skills, followed by presentation of prizes and certificates.

The new juniors at Vale Royal Abbey were also able to develop their game and grow their confidence on the club’s practice area, three-hole course, junior tees on the main course and eventually the full length course.

Ben and Brian have been so pleased with the response to the academy that they are planning to repeat the programme in 2018, holding another taster day in the spring, following this with more blocks of lessons and developing an events calendar for juniors.

Ben said: “The academy has been a huge success and we have also had great support from the members here at Vale Royal Abbey who have gone out of their way to help us in numerous ways, thus showing what a friendly and enthusiastic membership we have. The academy will now take a small break over the Christmas/New Year period and we will be back again with a free open day on Sunday 4 March 2018.”

Alison Lysons, Cheshire Club support officer for England Golf, said:  “The junior academy has been a great success thanks to the hard work of Ben and Brian and the fantastic junior friendly facilities at Vale Royal Abbey. It’s exciting to see so many young people enjoying the game of golf and having a real pathway to develop their skills. I look forward to supporting Ben and Brian with developing the junior section further in 2018”.

For further information about the Junior Academy at Vale Royal Abbey Golf Club, please contact:  Ben Derbyshire, Head PGA Professional, on 01606 301291 (option 4) or email


Lancs youngsters benefit from coaching

PROMISING young Lancashire golfers have the chance to develop their skills under the watchful eye of the some of the county’s top junior coaches.

The Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and the Lancashire Ladies’ County Golf Association have teamed up to deliver an opportunity for youngsters to make significant progress.

The aim is to create a pathway for them to hone their game to the highest level.

And to show what can be achieved, they look no further than Ashton & Lea Golf Club’s Jack Wallbank (pictured), who lifted the Lancashire Under-14 county boys’ championship this this summer.

jack wallbank solo u14 2017.jpgHis success came playing off three, two years after joining the under-14 programme with a handicap of 25.

The region’s under-14 programme caters for those aged 13 or under on December 31, 2017.

The County Academy scheme is aimed at boys and girls from the age of 14 to 18.

The county is divided into five regions to administer the coaching.

The CAP programme consists of 21 hours coaching by PGA professionals, working with small groups and providing all the elements needed to go on and become an elite player.

The under-14s will take part in three half-day group sessions, again with a PGA professional, focussing on the fundamental skills.

Phil Harvey, Lancashire Union secretary, said: “Both programmes are designed to complement a player’s work with their own club professional or individual coach.”

One of the highlights of the U14 season is the finale at Houghwood Golf Club, which this year saw more than 60 youngsters competing over 18 and nine holes.

Club owner Peter Turner is an enthusiastic supporter of Lancashire junior golf and offers free use of the facilities on the day while club member Tony Mather provides the prizes.

This season’s competition was won by Harry Lee of Lancaster Golf Club, while Zak
Tidmarsh of Aintree Golf Centre took the honours in the nine-hole competition.

Registration for the 2018 Under 14 programme is now open at

The cost of the U14 programme is £25, with CAP £75, though some bursaries are available. Further details from

Duxbury Park youngsters are six hits

GolfSixes NW - Duxbury Park.JPG

READY FOR ACTION: Youngsters take part in the pilot project at Duxbury Park

TEAMS of Lancashire youngsters have played their first Golf Foundation “GolfSixes” event in a pilot project that follows the new European Tour format and aims to keep more junior players at the heart of club golf.

More than 32 clubs are involved in a series of local leagues across seven regions of England. It features boys and girls playing inter-club matches, taking aspects of the GolfSixes format as seen on television on the European Tour in May.

Six players figure in each team, competing over six holes in a Texas Scramble format against neighbouring clubs, with points counting at every hole towards the final results.

Many children are playing on golf courses for the first time.

In a recent example, teams from Duxbury Park (pictured), Hart Common, Haigh Hall and Regent Park golf clubs all competed.

One parent commented: “We love this event because it’s great for our children to play six holes on the course, all as part of a team, which is fantastic for increasing confidence and making friends.

“Our lad plays at the range a bit during the week but as I’m working I don’t see that. Here, on a Sunday, all the parents can come along and cheer on their children!”

With youngster playing in their club team coloured shirts in a league series funded by Sport England, the nationally recognised charity the Golf Foundation is seeking to encourage more involvement in the scheme for newcomers.

It also helps to instil a sense of belonging for the juniors at club level and allowing them to experience golf out on the course while supported by the club PGA Professional and also their parents.

The project is in support of England Golf’s strategy to retain more junior members at club level.


What a Bel-ter! Prestbury ace England girls’ champ

Bel.jpgTHE winds blew at gale force – but nothing could stop Cheshire’s Bel Wardle as she swept to a seven-shot win in the English girls’ championship at Littlestone, Kent.
The brutal weather made it tough to take a stance, let alone hit a ball, but the 17-year-old international shot one-under 72 in the third round – and became the champion when the fourth round was abandoned because of the conditions.
She was seven-under par for 54 holes, while runner-up Martha Lewis (St George’s Hill, Surrey) finished on level par. Third place, on three over, was taken by Megan Dennis (Woburn, Buckinghamshire) and Annabell Fuller (Roehampton, Surrey) was a further shot back.
The win is huge for Wardle, who plays at Prestbury. She said: “Last year I led after two rounds and kind of blew it in the third round. I went out there today so determined not to let that happen again. I didn’t want that that sinking feeling again.
“I knew I could compete, but this was about getting over the line with my first win and it does so much for my confidence. It shows me I can do it, I really can do it.”
Wardle’s plan was to get off a quick start – and she couldn’t have been speedier. She drove the first green and holed the 3ft putt for an eagle, then birdied the next two holes to get to 10-under for the championship. She parred her way to the turn and then began the very difficult inward half.
“It was so tough coming in. On the 10th I started wondering how I could get the club back in the wind and we were only just making the fairway. When you were over the ball it was a matter of take whatever stance you could and give it a go.
“I just kept things simple, I didn’t go pin-hunting, I just tried to hit greens and control my shots into the greens.”
Now Wardle is off to play for England in the girls’ Home Internationals at Little Aston, Staffordshire, which start on Wednesday. After that it’s the British girls’ championship, where she was runner-up last year.

Cheshire chosen to attract more juniors

CHESHIRE is among four counties chosen to work in partnership with England Golf over the next two years to get more juniors involved in the sport.

Durham, Lincolnshire and Somerset are also joining the pilot project which aims to get more under-18s playing and joining clubs.

The latest England Golf Club Questionnaire, which is carried out every two years and tracks trends, shows a decline in junior membership. On average, each club lost three boy members between 2014 and 2016 and altogether juniors account for just seven per cent of club members.

Lee Dolby, England Golf’s Young People Manager, commented: “It’s vital that we address the challenges facing junior golf. Cheshire and the other three counties have enormous commitment and enthusiasm for developing junior golf and involving more young people. “I am looking forward to working with them over the next couple of years to see how much of an impact

Junior-golf (3).jpgwe can have and how we can inspire a love of golf to last a lifetime.”

Cheshire is already deeply committed to growing junior golf. It has had excellent results with Girls Golf Rocks, the England Golf and Golf Foundation project to attract more girls into the game, and has just started a county-wide project to encourage more juniors generally. It has also run junior leagues for 24 years and has a talent pathway for promising youngsters.

David Durling, Chair of the Cheshire Golf Development Group, said: “We have already identified junior development as a priority and are hugely enthusiastic about this project. It will help us increase the number of young people coming into golf and support the clubs which are struggling to run junior sections.”

Each of the four counties will have a bespoke plan which recognises their particular challenges and targets. They’ll be supported by Lee Dolby and the England Golf network of club support offers and regional managers.

This will include offering access to research, workshops and educational resources and help with marketing to a younger audience.

Dolby added: “By working closely with counties, rather than individual clubs, we can look at wider solutions which, eventually, we can share across the country.”

Image copyright Leaderboard Photography

Junior golfers get their own Open

YOUNG golfers inspired to follow in the footsteps of a Rory McIlroy or a Tommy Fleetwood can now take part in an Open of their own.

The first North West Junior Open is on Sunday, August 27, at Knott End Golf Club.

The event is supported by the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs and comes hard on the heels of Royal Birkdale staging the 146th Open Championship. Record-breaking crowds saw Jordan Spieth become the 2017 champion golfer with thousands taking advantage of the R&A initiative to allow under-16s in for free.

Entry to the North West Junior Open is available to talented young golfers with a handicap who live in Lancashire, Cheshire, Cumbria, Greater Manchester and Merseyside with a field of more than 100 expected to tee up.

Knott End professional Paul Walker said: “This is a terrific opportunity for juniors with widely ranging handicaps to compete against each other.

“It will be great for the sport, especially as it has the support of clubs across the north west through the Lancashire Union of Golf Clubs.”

The entry fee for the individual 18-hole strokeplay competition is £10 per player, which includes food and a drink courtesy of the main sponsor, Nu-Form Fire UK. There are prizes for best gross and nett scores.

Paul Walker added: “Knott End will give juniors the chance to play one of the most interesting golf clubs in the region, famous for its seaside location and holes which follow the scenic Wyre Estuary.”

The handicap limit is 24 for boys and 28 for girls. The upper age limit is under 18 on January 1, 2017.

To book online, parents of junior golfers should visit or for further information contact the host club’s professional, Paul Walker, on 01253 810576 or email



Euro champs England bid for double

EUROPEAN champions England will aim to double up with a successful defence of the women’s Home Internationals next month.

Five members of the winning European team are in the line-up for the annual battle against the other three home nations, which will be played at Little Aston Golf Club, Staffordshire, from August 9-11.

They are Lianna Bailey of Leicestershire, Gemma Clews of Cheshire, India Clyburn of Lincolnshire, Sophie Lamb of Lancashire and Rochelle Morris of Yorkshire. England also won European gold in 2016 and the Home Internationals team is completed by two members of that side: Emma Allen of Hampshire and Olivia Winning of Yorkshire.

Alice Hewson, who was in both European teams, is playing in the US women’s amateur and is therefore unavailable.

The girls’ Home Internationals will be played simultaneously and the team will be aiming to regain the crown they lost last year after eight successive wins. In total, England has won the girls’ title 50 times since the championship began in 1954.

The team is Sammy Fuller of Surrey, Lily May Humphreys of Essex, Hollie Muse of Lancashire, Emily Price of Worcestershire, Hannah Screen of Hertfordshire, Bel Wardle of Cheshire and Amelia Williamson of Norfolk.  All but Screen were in the England side which won the bronze medal in the European girls’ team championship.

The players


Emma Allen, 20, (Meon Valley) is a student at the University of Missouri. She was joint runner-up in last week’s English women’s amateur championship.

Lianna Bailey, 20, (Kirby Muxloe) has had a string of high finishes this season in the English women’s amateur, the Welsh and Irish stroke play and the St Rule Trophy.

Gemma Clews, 22, (Delamere Forest) is the Welsh women’s stroke play champion, was joint runner-up in the Irish stroke play and third in the St Rule Trophy.

India Clyburn, 20, (Woodhall Spa) tied second in the English women’s amateur and is  a winner on the US college circuit where she had five top tens in her second year.

Sophie Lamb, 19, (Clitheroe) is the British women’s stroke play champion, was joint runner up in Irish women’s stroke play and fifth in the English amateur. (Image copyright Leaderboard Photography)

Rochelle Morris, 22, (Woodsome Hall) is a Curtis Cup player and has had a series of top-five results in stroke play events and a win in The Leveret.

Olivia Winning, 22, (Rotherham) was fourth in the English amateur and a semi-finalist in the English women’s match play.


Sammy Fuller, 18, (Roehampton) has had high finishes in a string of women’s championships and also reached the quarter finals of the French U21s.

Lily May Humphreys, 15, (Stoke by Nayland) is the new English women’s amateur champion, adding that success to a host of top girls’ titles.

Hollie Muse, 17, (West Lancashire) won the girls’ title at the Fairhaven Trophies and was third in the Scottish women’s open and the Scottish girls’ championship.

Emily Price, 17, (Cleobury Mortimer) is the English women’s open stroke play champion and was runner up in the 2016 English girls’ championship.

Hannah Screen, 17, (Berkhamsted) won the Bridget Jackson Bowl, led qualifying in the English women’s match play and was runner-up in the Sir Henry Cooper Junior Masters.

Bel Wardle, 17, (Prestbury) was runner-up in the 2016 British girls’ and eighth in the world girls’ championships. She was sixth in the 2017 St Rule Trophy.


Amelia Williamson, 17, (Royal Cromer) has had high finishes in a series of women’s events and was runner-up in the girls’ Fairhaven Trophies.