Littlestone Golf Club, home to one of Kent’s finest championship links courses, continues its long and proud tradition of supporting junior golfers in the county.
In addition to running a comprehensive junior academy, Littlestone PGA professional, Bruce McDonald, has been out and about at local schools recently offering coaching to junior golfers and introducing newcomers to the sport.
Over the last few months, Bruce has visited three local schools that has resulted in some fantastic feedback from the youngsters as well as the teaching staff and now two schools have signed up for a full term of lessons.
“Golf is a great game for young people and of course it doesn’t matter if you are 5 or 15, 6ft or 3ft – it’s a sport that anyone and everyone can be involved in,” says McDonald.
“Golf has so many attributes and is good for you both physically and mentally; an average golf course will take at least 10,000 steps to walk around and you’ll need some maths skills to figure out the complicated scoring system!”
Bruce also runs the Weekend Junior Academy on Saturdays and Sundays at Littlestone where all abilities and ages are more than welcome to just turn up even if trying golf for the very first time. All participants need is a pair of trainers and that’s it! The club provides all the equipment required.
As part of its support for junior golf, Littlestone GC has set up a charity fund to support young golfers from the area after conversations with local schools revealed that golf can be seen as elitist and expensive, with those from less provided backgrounds unable to join in. In response to this, The Littlestone Junior Fund provides all the clubs, gloves and golf balls needed to get kids started in the game.
One example of the success of Littlestone’s junior programme is Arthur Saunders.
At just six years old, Arthur qualified to go the IMG World Junior Championships in 2015 in San Diego where he won the Under 6s World Putting Competition. After a fantastic season, Arthur has qualified for the Championship again this year by winning the 7-8-Year-Old Super 6 Grand Final at Redbourn GC on May 21st.
Now aged 8 and coached by Bruce, Arthur has lost none of his enthusiasm for the game and is already looking forward to flying to San Diego in July with his dad, Kevin.
“Sometimes I forget Arthur is only 8,” said Bruce. “He has such a mature attitude when it comes to practising and is so focused that he puts many adults to shame. He now has a CONGU handicap of 20 and plays from the men’s tees and, being physically stronger, he is hitting the ball 25 to 30 yards more than he was two years ago.”
Arthur’s parents are justifiably proud of their son and pleased that his love of golf has not diminished though they’d be happy if he gave it all up tomorrow. “Whatever he wants is fine by us,” they say.
In order for Arthur to return to the IMG World Championship, the members at Littlestone Warren held a golf day for him and raised over £2,000.
“There is no doubt that without the Littlestone members’ support we wouldn’t be able to take Arthur to San Diego. Their generosity has once again meant Arthur can compete with the best juniors in the world and his mum and I are enormously grateful,” concluded Kevin Saunders.
Littlestone is a member of Golf in Kent, a partnership between Visit Kent and some of the county’s premier golf courses and accommodation providers, that promotes the Garden of England as a golfer’s paradise, thanks to the quality of it courses and off-course attractions.
For more about Golf in Kent, go to www.golfinkent.co.uk