Juniors In The Spotlight

LONGHIRST Hall Golf Club are working on many fronts to ensure the future of golf remains bright for the region's youngsters.

LONGHIRST Hall Golf Club are working on many fronts to ensure the future of golf remains bright for the region's youngsters.

Over 200 pupils from Ashington community sports college attended Longhirst during December for coaching sessions.

Groups of 20 at a time were bussed in to what proved to be a very successful venture. James Redpath, one of the staff at Ashington, explained. "We added golf into the curriculum and through links with Longhirst Golf club we have been able to bring the youngsters here to put into practice what we have done in school.

"It all adds to the experience and some pupils have already expressed an interest in taking up the sport further."

Graham Chambers, the manager and junior development officer at Longhirst, added: "We look for any opportunity to create links within the community, and a venture like this has long-term spin-offs for both us as a club and the school. I can see this being a long-term project with groups already booked for January and February."

The club have also invested time into coaching first school pupils in Broomhill, Northumberland.

A series of lessons by Graham Chambers took place at an after school club over six weeks leading up to Christmas.

Hazel Jenkins, the school head, said: "What a pleasure it has been to have golf coached in our school. The children really enjoyed it have talked of nothing since. As a school we have bought in the tri-golf kit and hope to bring Longhirst in again soon for more sessions."

Graham Chambers added: "It is very rewarding to see such young children take to the sport as they have here, it is all about giving them the opportunity to do so. Hopefully it make them think of the sport in the future."

The pupils have also planned a trip to Longhirst on the practice area to get the experience of going to a golf course.

The junior members at Longhirst are also looking forward to the season as now they will be representing the club in the Northumberland Golf League.

Following an application to join the league Longhirst will be joining for the 2008 season.

Karl Hepple, one of the team members, said: "It's great to play competitive golf and this can only bring us on as a group. To play other courses too will all add to our experience."

Meanwhile, Craig Bell, a 15-year-old junior member, scored a major achievement at the end of last season.

On the Lakes Course Par 4 13th he hit an amazing hole in one - the first on a par 4 at Longhirst.

Craig said: "As soon as I hit it I knew it was a good shot but when the golfers on the next tee started shouting and jumping I knew what had happened."

Craig was playing with his proud granddad Bob Bell ,also a member at Longhirst. The story has travelled across to Australia where Craig has relatives.

All this happens on the back of another successful year at Longhirst with the Junior Open and the hosting of the Northumberland Junior County Championship in July.

Graham Chambers added: "We are delighted to host such an event and to be recognised for our efforts in junior golf."


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer