Chinese teenage sensation Guan Tianlang amazed everyone by becoming the youngest person ever to play and make the cut at the US Masters this month at the age of just 14.
And rising stars from across Europe are being invited to head to the Home of Golf to demonstrate their own skills on some of its world-renowned courses when the Emerging World Youth Golf Tour returns to St Andrews this summer.
Following the huge success of its inaugural outing in 2012, organisers have expanded the event this year and revealed that they will hold two residential training camps in the famous old Scottish town, from 8-19 July and 29 July to 9 August.
After juniors from as far afield as South America, Asia and the Middle East attended the St Andrews Youth Golf Camp last year, this year will see the focus switch to closer to home and see more juniors from Europe included in the camps.
And registration requests have already been received from youngsters in countries including Italy, Germany, Austria, Finland, Portugal, Turkey, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Czech Republic and the UK as aspiring golfers gather for the chance to take part in the once-in-a-lifetime programmes.
Ladies European Tour star Melissa Reid, who attended to give clinics and prizes at the 2012 St Andrews youth training camp, said: “It’s a massive opportunity for them to come to the Home of Golf at such a young age. I would have jumped at the chance.”
The plan for the camps’ programme of events has been supervised by former European Tour chief executive Ken Schofield and ex-PGA captain Alan Walker, and aims to educate and inspire the international field of budding young golfers aged 11-18.
The 10-day schedules will focus on the history and traditions; rules and etiquette; and technical and mental aspects of the game; with elite attendees receiving tuition from Simon Holmes, former coach to Nick Faldo and 2006 European Ryder Cup team’s psychological performance coach Jamil Qureshi.
All juniors will also receive tuition from the St Andrews Links Trust’s expert team of PGA professionals led by Steve North, one of the UK’s leading golf coaches.
In addition, they will be tackling several of the Links Trust’s renowned courses as well as playing and staying at the five-star Fairmont St Andrews resort or the St Leonards boarding school. Other highlights of the trip include a tour of the R&A clubhouse – for both boys and girls; visiting the British Golf Museum; a session at the R&A’s equipment test centre; playing on the Himalayas putting course; and a final-night dinner in the Swilcan restaurant, overlooking the Old Course and Eden Course.
Schofield said: “St Andrews is the cradle of golf, making it the ideal place for young international golfing talent to experience a golf finishing school.
“Our hopes are that these young golfers will see and feel this history as they play the famous old links and, at the same time, respond to some excellent coaching.”
The Emerging World Youth Tour is a community interest company, meaning it is a not-for-profit organisation and works towards the good of the communities in which it operates.
Michelle Smith, co-founder and director of the Emerging World Youth Tour, added: “Often the most talented juniors do not come from wealthy backgrounds. We hope to be able to assist talented European juniors to benefit from the programme with the support of other organisations within the golfing world.”
Emerging World Youth Golf Tour www.emergingworld-media.org