Tynesides junior Matthew Walker is set for a bright future in golf. The 16-year-old, who took up the sport at the age of 12, played some stunning golf last season, resulting in two major awards - he has been presented with the titles of Tyneside Golf Club's Junior Player of the Year and the 2007 Tyne and Wear Junior League Player of the Year.
At the start of the season, Matthew's handicap was 16 and as a result of his dedication, has shed 7 shots and now plays off 8.7.
He said: "I've been a member here for four years and have regular lessons from Geoff Dixon who is the Pro here at Tyneside. I've practiced a lot this year and play as much as I can."
As for competitions, Matthew said: "I won the monthly medal no 1 with a nett 63 playing off 15 and the monthly medal no 4 with a nett 58 off 12, that day I shot a goss 70 which is level par here at Tyneside. In addition I won the winter doubles junior league and was picked to represent Tyneside at Castle Rock Golf Club in Ireland where I played in the Mary Ryder tournament."
Matthew is also a regular member of the Tyneside junior team - last season he won six out of nine matches and with that, the Player of the Year title.
He added: "Through the summer, I would be here practically every day and in school time, I would come down four times a week after school. When I practice, I work on what the Pro has told me to do in the lesson and then work on what parts of my game that have been causing me problems. Although my driving is probably the best part of my game, I've always had a good short game because I practice it a lot."
Matthew is presently in the lower sixth form at Ryton Comprehensive School where he will be taking four A-levels in the not so distant future. He said: "My ambition is to go on to university and become a teaching pro, but it all depends on how my game improves, I'll just have to wait and see."
He lives at home with his parents Surtees and Pauline, who are both very proud with the progress Matthew is making. Surtees said: "It has been a great achievement this year but I would say that whatever Matthew does, he always puts a 100% effort in, which is all you can ask of a child really. I started him off teaching him how to behave on the course, the rules and the etiquette to get him on the course and his brother Steven, who is six years older has been a big help as well."
With the new season a couple of months away, Matthew hopes to continue improving his game. He has been regularly working out at a local a gym to increase his fitness and practicing at driving ranges - his commitment cannot be faulted.
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THE Football Village golf development near Marbella on the Costa Del Sol is supported by both Newcastle United and Sunderland, with both clubs set to stage information evenings in the coming months. The events include a behind-the-scenes stadium tour, led by a club legend (Peter Beardsley at Newcastle, Marco Gabbiadini at Sunderland), and a brief presentation about The Village delivered by a Sky Sports presenter (usually Jeff Stelling).
The dates for St James' Park are February 13th and March 13th and at the Stadium of Light on February 14th and March 12th (all 6.30pm start).
To book a place call 08000-111-875 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
THE winners of Mencap's golf competition at South Moor Golf Club were Main Road Garage of Stanley (Lee Wright and Steve Clough) with a stableford score of 44 points. The event, organised by Derwentside Rotary, raised £1,000 for Mencp NE.