Tees Valley golfer David Hugill is heading Down Under to represent England in a major international golf event. The 42-year-old from North Ormesby in Middlesbrough is to compete in the World Deaf Golf Championship in Perth, Australia in September.
David plays off an England Deaf Golf Association handicap of 12 and he'll come up against the best deaf players in the world.
He said: "This is going to be fantastic as I am the first deaf person in the North East to play in the world championships. Being deaf is an advantage at golf as there are no distractions and you can really concentrate on your game."
David is going to Perth as one of England's team of six and cemented his place in the side after four days of grueling competition at one of the country's most demanding new courses, Wychwood Park in Cheshire.
David scored rounds of 79, 73, 71 and 81 over the tight mostly heathland course.
He said: "Wychwood is a beautiful course but very challenging. The ground was hard on both the greens and the fairways, and it was very windy throughout the whole four days so it proved very difficult to accurately place the ball.
"Everyone in the competition found it tough. I did very well, until the fourth and final day when nerves started to get the better of me. That, coupled with the wind, made for a frustrating day's golf. The four-day competition was certainly a good experience but I was quite disappointed with my final placing.
"However, due to my overall performance in all the competitions and training exercises I was picked to play as part of the six- man England team, which is brilliant. I'm delighted and really looking forward to it."
David works for Darlington Borough Council as a community support worker with deaf and blind clients.
He is currently captain of the Tees Deaf Golf Society, which has about 30 members who compete monthly on golf courses throughout the Tees Valley.
David has played golf since he was 12 and is now busily raising £3,000 in sponsorship he needs to fund his trip to Australia.
He will be holding fundraising events of his own, but is open to offers of sponsorship too.
He added: "The fundraising has been going very well. A competition at Wilton Golf Club raised £600 alone. I also held an auction night which was a great success.
"I'm going to be a chef for the night, a slave for a day, a taxi driver, I have even offered my services as a caddie. From these events I have raised enough to cover my travel expenses to Australia and couldn't have asked for a better response.
"From now until September I will be concentrating on my golf and getting in as much practice as possible, to be ready and focused to do as well as I can as part of the England team. Bring it on!"
To sponsor David call him on 01325 346727.
And Then There Were Three...
As we reported in last month's issue, 18 of our youngsters qualified to play in the HSBC Wee Wonders North of England Regional Final held at Leeds Golf Centre - and three have got through to the Grand Final. Last year's winner of his age group and our cover star in the December 2007 issue of Golf North East, Jack Hermeston from Newcastle United Golf Club , automatically qualified and has won through to his second successive final.
Joining him is young Jack Walling from Tyneside Golf Club, who appeared in last month's issue, in the 7-8 years group and even younger William Skipp (5-6 years), who won his age group held at Crook Golf Club.
The three lads will now be playing at St Andrew's on August 23 and 24 with the hope that they can achieve even greater success. It will be tougher for Jack this year; the organisers have decided that because of the particularly high standard of the older players, the 11-12 year olds now have to play a 36-hole competition over the par 69 Strathtyrum Course.