YOUNG golfing hopefuls Jimmy Brown and Lewis Wharton are starting to deliver on the promise we first reported on in Golf North East almost five years ago.
The lads were aged just six and five when we featured a story in April 2003 on how Eaglescliffe professional Graham Bell was putting them through their paces as they began to learn the game.
Back then, the keen youngsters had passed the first stage of the Golf Foundation course - designed to get more youngsters into the game, allowing them to learn how to play, etiquette and rules before venturing out on the course.
Jimmy, now 10, and 11-year-old Lewis had to pass a series of tests including hitting the ball a certain distance and accurately.
They've come on in leaps and bounds since then and are now part of the excellent, far-sighted Durham County Bursary Coaching Scheme that aims to raise the standards of junior golf in the region.
Over the last six months, this superb initiative has meant that the duo have joined several other youngsters from throughout the county for training at the David Leadbetter Academy at The Wynyard.
The county scheme aims to identify potential starts of the future at a young age, so they can be guided and coached at the highest level.
At the Leadbetter academy of course, they receive tuition from one of the best golf coaches in the UK, Andrew Nicholson, and his equally gifted assistant Stewart Clayton.
Both boys were recently re-assessed and awarded places on the next level, which will ensure they receive intensive coaching over the next 12 months at the Leadbetter academy.
Jimmy's dad John, a former Eaglescliffe captain and club champion, said: "The Durham County scheme is tremendous and has been brilliant for both boys. They've come on a lot since attending the sessions at the Leadbetter academy and it's great that they've been selected for the next stage.
"It's amazing how far they've come since they were featred in Golf North East nearly five years ago. Passing the Golf Foundation Red Award was the first step. They continued receiving tuition from Grham Bell at Eaglescliffe, where both lads are members, and now they've gone up to county level. The Durham junior liaison officer John Sanderson has been a tremendous support."
The boys regularly play together - often tackling 27 holes a day in the school holidays - and are looking forward to this year's coaching at Wynyard while they're also hoping to start playing in junior competitions.
Lewis's dad Jim is also a former club champion at Eaglescliffe.