OVER the years, Slaley Hall may have played host to many of the world’s finest professional golfers but more recently, the inaugural Junior Golf Tour Final held at the Northumberland resort produced a field of young talent which bodes well for the future of North East Golf.
As a result of the hard work throughout 2010 by both the County Durham and Northumberland County Golf Partnerships, youngsters had qualified via Junior Golf Tour events staged at various golf clubs throughout the region.
Jason Budd, from the English Golf Union, said: “The Junior Golf Tour Final comprises of 32 young people who have had to play through qualifying events held in Northumberland and County Durham where they have had three of four opportunities to qualify in the beginner boys, experienced boys, beginner girls and experienced girls sections. They have had to qualify from the order of merit to get through to the final.
“Today, they have each played nine holes on the Priestman course which has been fantastic, but very tricky with the tough conditions. The competition has been stroke-play with their nett scores to count.
“After the competition, we have had world trick-shot champion David Edwards perform a show followed by European Tour player Kenneth Ferrie answering questions from the kids. I think this is a good thing for the children to see where Ken came from and where he has got to. He is a bit of a role model and with a bit of hard work, the possibility is that they could achieve the same result.
“The event has been fantastic. It has been a lot of hard work but it’s all paid off and when you see the amount of people that have turned up today, parents, adults, golfers, non-golfers, boys and girls, it has certainly been a worthwhile event.”
In addition, the day included putting and chipping competitions, a long drive competition and a coaching clinic run by Slaley Hall’s Steve McNally.
Jason added: “The whole aim of these golf tours is to get more people into golf. I would like to thank De Vere at Slaley Hall for allowing us the use of their facilities, it has worked out really well.”
Next year, a Junior Golf Tour is to be launched in Cumbria and the regional final involving the three counties will be staged at a venue in either County Durham or Cumbria.
Results – County Nett Score
1. William Wilkinson Northumberland 31
2. Alexander Haywood Durham 33
3. Alex Wooley Durham 34 (CB)
4. Lewis Robinson Northumberland 34
1. Luke Brennan Durham 13
2. Cameron Fletcher-Smith Northumberland 19
3. Jamie Hodge Northumberland 20
4. Stefan Turnbull Durham 22
1. Briony Bayles Durham 19
2. Imogen Horrocks Northumberland 24
3. Alexandra Stevenson Durham 25 (CB)
4. Zara Alexander Durham 25
1. Durham 458
2. Northumberland 486