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New series to launch for youngsters

AN AWARD-winning golf professional is among the experts who have master minded eight Cheshire and Lancashire clubs launching a new series of tournaments for youngsters.

Matthew Turnock, the 2018 England Golf Coach of the Year, describes the advent of junior GolfSixes leagues as “the brightest idea since the light bulb”.

On Monday, June 11 Styal host the first round of Cheshire matches – to be played over six holes – competing against Turnock’s club, Mottram Hall, Congleton and Macclesfield. The Lancashire league involves the Duxbury Park, Regent Park, Haigh Hall and Hart Common clubs.

Styal were short-listed for the England Golf Club of the Year Award. They have a remarkable development programme for youngsters and are thought to be the only club in the country to devote a website solely to their junior section.

By October all youngsters in the junior GolfSixes leagues matches will all have played on each other’s courses and Turnock said: “It is fitting Styal should launch the Cheshire league after all the good work they have done for youngsters.”

Junior GolfSixes are organised by the national junior charity, the Golf Foundation, in conjunction with England Golf, the national association of golf clubs. Boys and girls aged from six to 14 are eligible to compete alongside each other and they don’t need to have a handicap. All the youngsters in the league play in their golf club shirts with Golf Sixes branding.

Turnock is an expert on the subject of junior golf, having introduced over 2,500 youngsters to the sport at over 50 primary schools in the Macclesfield area over the past ten years.

He said: “When the junior members at Mottram found out we were going to be taking part I was taken aback at how excited they were . . . because it’s fast and it’s fun. I organised a free evening for all the team players to come along to do a trial run of the format so everyone is comfortable with how to score.

“I know the PGA professionals at the other three clubs in our league have done something similar and there is a real buzz about the event. The GolfSixes format appeals to younger golfers because it is enjoyable, easy to play and builds team spirit.”

The league matches will be supported by enthusiastic parents and this family engagement follows the model of team games such as football, netball and rugby welcoming families new to their sports into a club environment.

Nationally there are 25 leagues featuring 125 golf clubs and 1,500 boys and girls following a mini pilot league last year. The Golf Foundation regional development officer Andy Leigh said: “GolfSixes offer a rapid starting point to hopefully create a long-lasting love of the sport.”

To see Styal’s impressive junior website, visit styalgolfjuniors.com

GolfSixes action from last year’s mini pilot league taken by Leaderboard Photography for the Golf Foundation.