A thriving golf academy, which is celebrating after three of its juniors got called into England regional squads, is on course to realise its long term ambition of developing a future world star.
Mark Dulson, director of the ACE Golf Academy at The Warwickshire, and fellow PGA pros Ian Smith and Chris Wickets have created a busy and successful junior programme at their Midland base capped recently by the selection of Callum Reay, Luke Northwood and Tom Charley for their national age groups.
Reay, aged 17, an ex-tennis player, has been coached by Dulson for just three years but in that time has seen his handicap tumble from 28 to plus one while Northwood, 14, plays off one having started at an 18 handicap and Charley, also 14, has got down to three from a 14 handicap start.
But while the talented trio are leading the way, Dulson, a PGA Advanced Professional, has plenty more coming through the ranks giving him hope that at least one will go all the way to the very top.
“Callum, Luke and Tom are doing very well but I have got another two or three others slightly below them who almost got into the regional squad and a couple of others who were borderline so I have a conveyer belt,” said Dulson.
“If we get them early enough hopefully we should see some good players and I’m pretty convinced one of them will go all the way to the very top.
“It was a special feeling when they got chosen for the England regional squads because I have been coaching them a long time and I have watched them grow from young boys working hard at their golf and they have started to show some real potential.
“Callum goes to golf college in Solihull and is looking at university in America while the other two are just as keen.”
The ACE Golf Academy is a franchise established by Dulson and Smith with a focus on juniors and adult beginners. Its success reflects the coaching expertise of their PGA team and also a commitment to making the game accessible.
“We’ve concentrated on those areas and in the last seven years built up a good reputation for juniors and adults just starting the game.
“Key has been creating a really friendly and welcoming atmosphere at the academy. It is approachable, there is no dress code when they come for lessons or practice, we provide all the equipment and just try and make it as easy and accessible as possible. Callum comes and practises in his tracksuit bottoms, it’s just really relaxed.
“Our coaching philosophy is to try and keep it simple. We get a lot of kids here that have been to other clubs and still play there but come to us for coaching and it’s snowballed.”
Working with the England regional coaches has also been a positive experience with close contact ensuring both parties are seamless in their teaching.
“The system is excellent, David Brooks who runs the programme, calls me every week to discuss what I am working on with the lads and they will head off to him for a squad session where they continue to work on what they are doing with me. And he always feeds back to me on what is happening and tells me how they have performed in matches so it works really well.”
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