Finding the ‘X Factor’

LISA Ferrie – the former England international who is now the county development officer for Northumberland – has been praised by Longhirst Hall and her boss for her work with junior golfers.

LISA Ferrie – the former England international who is now the county development officer for Northumberland – has been praised by Longhirst Hall and her boss for her work with junior golfers.

Both Northumberland and Durham have been running X Factor-style “auditions” to uncover fresh golfing talent over recent seasons, with Durham leading the way last year.

Now Northumberland have 101 youngsters on their 2010-2011 academy training programme, organised by the county golf partnership, around 25% of them girls.

The partnership pools the expertise and resources of club and county officials with EGU and EWGA-funded organisers such as Ferrie, the wife of European Tour pro Kenneth Ferrie. Longhirst, which has become one of the driving forces in junior golf, has three youngsters on the programme – David Chambers, Ryan Martin and Ashley Lyall. Graham Chambers, the golf course manager and junior liaison officer at Longhirst, said: “It’s great that Lisa, who does a superb job, and the partnership, have set up this initiative, and it can only be a positive move for junior golf at club and county level.

“We already have two of our juniors through our club programme looking at turning pro or doing scholarships in the near future.”

Jason Budd, regional development officer for the North East and Cumbria, said: “The amount of time and effort Lisa has put into this has been beyond the call of duty.”

Longhirst’s recent track record in terms of encouraging youngsters has been impeccable. In August of last year, they staged the Northumberland Golf Festival, allowing beginners to turn up on the day and enjoy top-quality tuition from PGA professionals.

In 2008, Longhirst was admitted to the Northumbria Junior League, having been turned down by the North Northumberland Junior League in 2007.

The same year also saw their work in encouraging youngsters recognised, with their hosting of the Northumberland Junior Championship.

Longhirst has two high-profile members from the world of sport, both from Ashington – England fast bowler Steve Harmison and Michael Oliver, the fast-tracked Premier League referee.

 
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