Five new golfing hopefuls have had their names added to the Guernsey Golf Development Squad.
The squad initiative, launched in 2013 and sponsored by ABN AMRO, aims to develop the talent of the island’s most promising young golfers of all ages and from all golf clubs.
This year Steve Wilford, professional coach from St Pierre Park Golf Club, will teach the children, along with Phil Sykes and Matt Groves, professionals at Guernsey Golf School.
The youngsters will be split into three age groups – minis, intermediate and development – and will come together every six weeks to play matches.
Squad members will receive fitness training sessions from Ashley Carter, a professional gym coach at La Grande Mare Gym. They receive free coaching and training along with TaylorMade custom-fitted equipment.
My Sykes said: ‘We’re really thrilled that two golf clubs are embracing it this year and the Guernsey Golf Union is endorsing it. It’s an island initiative, not a club one. We have watched lots of children throughout the year, assessed how committed they are and how much they have embraced the programme. If they have developed they have been invited back in.’
Last year the squad played matches in the UK and Jersey at which Mr Sykes said they were a credit to the island.
‘The whole squad initiative has gone brilliantly, well above what we expected at the beginning. When we took the youngsters away last year we were so impressed by the way they carried themselves and we were very proud of what they did,’ he said.
‘They have started to bond as a group. Although golf is an individual sport it is so important to be able to bond as a group. They have definitely developed a few life skills over the last year, like meeting new people, playing against people they don’t know and recognising what goes on outside of their own club.’
Similar trips away are planned for 2014, with two in the UK and the possibility of one further afield.
Graham Thoume, managing director of ABN AMRO Private Banking said: ‘We are extremely pleased with the success of the Guernsey Golf Development Squad last year and it is so encouraging to hear how the youngsters benefitted from the initiative. The skills learnt by being part of a bigger group such as this are so important later in life, whichever career path they choose.’
The 2014 Guernsey Golf Development Squad