Eighteen Junior golfers travelled from as far afield as the UAE, Zambia, Bulgaria, Austria, Italy and Spain to take part in the event which started at the home of golf St Andrews. The bright young talents visited Lee Westwood at his house in Muirfield on practice day of the Open Championship. Lee hosted the inquisitive young golfers in his garden spending about an hour answering their questions whilst taking photographs with the juniors.
After a successful launch of the St Andrews Youth Golf Camp in 2012, Emerging World Youth Golf Tour extended its 2nd camp’s journey to the Open Championship at Muirfield. Following a week in St Andrews where the juniors aged 9-18 played the famous old links, toured the R&A Clubhouse and British Golf Museum; they received mental game coaching with Dr Richard Cox, a Rules presentation from David Bird, a seminar and training on ‘Time Management and Practice Habits of Golf Professionals’ from European Tour coach Simon Holmes; a visit to Lee Westwood’s house was the undisputed highlight of the trip.
“We were delighted when Chubby Chandler agreed the meeting with the juniors and Lee Westwood.” said Michelle Smith a director of the Tour. The juniors rose at 5am to start the two hour journey from St Andrews to Muirfield to meet the former world’s number one who proceeded to lead the Open Championship after day three of the Major tournament.
“Lee really gave the juniors a lot of his time before such an important event. This means a lot to us. He gave us valuable time at a critical point whilst he prepared for what could be his first Major tournament win. His engagement with the juniors was exemplary he actively listened to questions answering every single one and there were many. He advised the juniors individually on how to achieve their own aims in golf.”
The event was filmed by IMG Golfing World and this will provide the juniors with a short documentary allowing them to share the memorable experience of a lifetime with Lee Westwood with friends and family in their home countries.
“Our second programme was a definite success, and the meeting with Lee Westwood was scheduled to build upon what the juniors learned in their session the previous day with Simon Holmes. This focused on ‘Time Management and practice habits of Elite Professional Golfers,” said Michelle Smith
The programme aims to educate, inspire and provide junior golfers with exposure to some of the worlds most renowned coaching and playing professionals. Last year Ladies European Tour player Melissa Reid, met the juniors providing clinics and advice as well as attending the prize giving in St Andrews.
The juniors benefit from expert coaching at St AndrewsLinksGolfAcademy, participate in a number of skills tests and competitions followed by an awards ceremony.
The two week programme developed under the guidance of former European Tour chief Ken Schofield and PGA Master Professional Alan Walker received support this year from the European Ryder Cup Trust Fund to increase participation in the programme from European junior golfers. “I am delighted to see participation increase by 50% with the support of the Ryder Cup trust” said Ken Schofield. Other supporters of the programme include the Emirates Golf Federation, the Zambian Junior Golf Association, and The Bulgarian Golf Association. Corporate supporters include Highland Spring, Ralph Lauren Polo Golf and Bushnell.
Other programme highlights this year include the Ken Schofield Award for Excellence won by Kabir Nanda of the UAE. The award identifies a person who is outstanding within the group, demonstrating good results and progress with their golf over the two weeks. The award recognizes qualities, such as integrity, consistency, good sportsmanship, good work ethic, adherence to the etiquette and rules of golf, positive interactions with coaches, other students and staff, on and off the golf course and the potential to develop further.
Ken Schofield commented: “Every one of you has been a credit to yourself, your Family and indeed your country – congratulations to all. I hope the experience will stay with you and help confirm your love of golf: As winner of the first Ken Schofield Award may I offer further congratulations, coupled with my very best wishes for the future. Stay inspired!”
Emerging World Youth Golf Tour www.emergingworld-media.org