Trophies for club’s successful juniors

Morpeth Golf Club competition winners Bob Knowles, centre, and Joe and Dan Dixon.

Morpeth Golf Club competition winners Bob Knowles, centre, and Joe and Dan Dixon.

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A GROUP of young golfers were recently rewarded for their performances and attitude at a ceremony.

Trophies were handed out at presentation evening for the Thursday Juniors at Morpeth Golf Club, including the Player of the Year accolade. This went to Ben Sweet.

The eclectic competition took place over the first five holes of the course and it ran throughout the season. Each youngster played these holes a number of times and the best score for each hole over the season counted.

The boys winner was Alex Woods and the girls winner was Sarah Fay.

Another contest saw two young players (one beginner and one more experienced junior) team up with an adult club member, usually a family member or family friend, to play the first five holes in the Texas Scramble format.

The winning trio were Joe Dixon, ten, Dan Dixon, eight, and Bob Knowles.

Awards were given to the boy and girl with the best attitude – Jack Thorpe and May Shaw respectively – because behaviour and etiquette is an important aspect of the sport.

There were also accolades for the winners of chipping and putting competitions in each of the six Thursday Juniors groups.

The sessions for ages six to 15 started with a handful of girls in 2006 and over the years it has grown in popularity. Today, up to 40 boys and girls regularly attend and in 2011 the club received the prestigious Golfmark status.

The emphasis is very much on giving the children an enjoyable experience in a safe and friendly environment, while at the same time giving them a grounding in the basics of the game of golf through small group coaching in putting, chipping, pitching, their long game and managing the course.

They have been led by volunteers – Jim Allison, Claire Allison, Peter Fay, Kathleen Lamb, Christine Oliver and Chris Taberham – all of whom have gained the PGA Level One Coaching Certificate. Morpeth’s two assistant pros, Steve Fawcitt and Mark Penny, also help out.

Christine, who along with Kathleen is retiring from this role at the end of the year, said: “I have been playing golf since the age of six and I wanted to give something back to the sport.

“I wouldn’t have believed the amount of pleasure I got from coaching the juniors if you had told me beforehand that it was going to be a wonderful experience.

“It’s great that these youngsters are enjoying the sessions and keep coming back to improve their game. And we’re not just giving them the chance to play a sport, we’re also instilling in them the importance of good behaviour and etiquette.

“The parents are very supportive and many of them have indicated that they would like to become more involved with the sessions.

“Funding for all of this has come from members taking part in 100 clubs, raffles, a legacy and various sporting bodies.

“In addition, the Northumberland Children’s Trust, set up by the late Jim Anderson, has been a huge supporter of this group and over the years has awarded it in the region of £5,000.

“Without this help, it would have been almost impossible to give the children the amount and quality of coaching that they have received over the years.”