POWERFUL hitting and silky short game skills saw four North Yorkshire youngsters shine in a major golf competition.
Amy Staveley, of Kirkbymoorside Golf Club, and Christina Rumbelow, who plays at Easingwold, both qualified from the England Golf North Regional Skills Final held at Sandburn Hall GC in Flaxton.
Staveley starred in the rookie eight years and under division, while Rumbelow romped to glory in the nine to 11 year section.
They were also joined by Flamborough duo Tom Thornton, who qualified from the 12 to 14 division, and Georgina Hirst, successful in the 15 to 17 age group.
The quartet were among 23 competitors who had qualified for the event after competing in two national skills challenge events at their home clubs earlier in the year.
The winners, from age groups from eight to 17, now go through to the Skills Challenge National Final, which is being held on Saturday, September 6, at the National Golf Centre in Woodhall Spa, in Lincolnshire.
It was a real challenge for the juniors, who had to battle strong winds as they took part in a series of events using Sandburn Hall’s driving range, short game practice area and putting green.
Consisting of ten challenges, participants scored points depending on how accurate they were hitting balls between posts and into circles with putting, chipping, pitching, long game and bunkers the five disciplines.
The aim of the competition is to make practice fun for young golfers and help them both develop their skills and encourage them to work hard on their games.
The event is supported by Footjoy and Russell Lawes, the company’s marketing manager, said: “Everyone at FootJoy would like to congratulate those players who have managed to progress through to the National Skills final and wish them every success.
“We have once again been delighted to support all players who have entered the skills challenge at the varying regional events and wish all players every success with the development of their golf game.
“There is a perfect synergy between the National Skills Challenge and FJ’s The Mark of a Player mantra, by teaching the next generation of golfers the key fundamentals which will enhance their enjoyment and understanding of the game of golf.”
Drive for success at Sandburn
ENGLAND GOLF chief Richard Brown praised the facilities at Sandburn Hall Golf Club after the Flaxton outfit staged the body’s North Regional Skills Final.
The driving range, short game area and putting green was taken over by 23 golfmad youngsters who hit drives, chips, pitches and putts in a bid to qualify for a prestigious national final next month.
Sandburn Hall held the regional finals of the competition two years ago and Brown, England Golf’s Senior Regional Manager, said he was very grateful to them for stepping up once more.
“We were here two years ago and it is a fantastic facility,” he said. “It is one of our national regional coaching facilities, with Steve Robinson being the head professional, and the kids love it.
“We are thankful to Sandburn for hosting it.”
Brown believes the skills challenges, which saw youngsters try to hit balls between posts and into circles to score points, had many applications for the development of children’s golf games on the course itself.
He added: “It’s basically just honing their games using the skills that they would use on a golf course. Coaches can also use it as a discipline, or a game, at the end of coaching.
“Every shot counts towards something. When you are practising, you can hit a ball and it doesn’t matter if it has come out of the bunker or not. Each shot the kids hit actually counts towards the overall score.
“It’s like being on the golf course, really.
“An example of what can be achieved through this would be Ross Earnshaw.
He did the skills challenge from Easingwold when he was younger. He is now in America on a college scholarship and plays off scratch.
“It is nice to see children who come and do this, who are competitive, like to improve themselves and want to do better, and seeing where they can progress to.”