Twenty junior golfers from around the country put their golf skills to the test in the recent finals of the third Skills Challenge at the National Golf Centre, Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire.

The youngsters, aged between 8 and 17 years old, had qualified for the final through three Challenge events held at their clubs throughout the year. More than 300 golf clubs registered to run the 10 fun coaching activities for their junior players based on putting, chipping, pitching, bunker play and the long game.

The finalists also benefited from coaching sessions with Alison Johns and Chris Huggins (Woodhall Spa PGA Professionals) developing both their short and long game skills and as a light-hearted end to the activities, Dean Davis (Hinksey Heights Golf Club) performed a trick shot show with several competitors and parents taking part.

A prize presentation was the finale of the day with the following competitors scooping those all-important prizes:–

Rookie 8 years under Joshua Ashton (Tapton Park Golf Club), Derbyshire, runner up Oscar Perry (Sturminster Marshall Golf Club), Dorset

Rookie 9 to 11 years Sam Wilkinson (Fulford Golf Club), Yorkshire, runner up Michael Townshend (Royal North Devon Golf Club), Devon

Tour 12 to 14 years Jimmy Mullen (Royal North Devon Golf Club), Devon, runner up Michael Jones (Royal North Devon Golf Club), Devon

Tour 15 to 17 years Mark Walsh (Heysham Golf Club), Lancashire, runner up Robert Smith (Heysham Golf Club), Lancashire

Richard Flint EGU/EWGA Golf Development Manager said, “The standard of play seen at the Skills Final demonstrates the importance and benefits of structured coaching programmes within golf clubs. With over 2,500 juniors registered these competitors have shown strength, determination and great skill to reach the final and should be proud of their achievements.”

The following players qualified in each of the four age categories:

Michael Godwin, 8 years under, Rivenhall Oaks Golf Club, Essex
Ross Dorrington, 8 years under, Heysham Golf Club, Lancashire
Callum Done, 8 years under, Heysham Golf Club, Lancashire
Oscar Perry, 8 years under, Sturminster Marshall Golf Club, Dorset
Joshua Ashton, 8 years under, Tapton Park Golf Club, Derbyshire
Daniel Hunter, 9 to 11 years, Drax Golf Club, Yorkshire
Aaron Eastwood, 9 to 11 years, Drax Golf Club, Yorkshire
Michael Townshend, 9 to 11 years, Royal North Devon Golf Club, Devon
Kiaran Tanton, 9 to 11 years, Royal North Devon Golf Club, Devon
Sam Wilkinson, 9 to 11 years, Fulford Golf Club, Yorkshire
Jimmy Mullen, 12 to 14 years, Royal North Devon Golf Club, Devon
Michael Jones, 12 to 14 years, Royal North Devon Golf Club, Devon
Humza Rafique, 12 to 14 years, Cookridge Hall Golf Club, Yorkshire
Ollie Tanton, 12 to 14 years, Royal North Devon Golf Club, Devon
Craig Alford, 12 to 14 years, Royal North Devon Golf Club, Devon
Nick Keen, 15 to 17 years, Royal North Devon Golf Club, Devon
Chris Benton, 15 to 17 years, Cookridge Hall Golf Club, Yorkshire
Robert Banks, 15 to 17 years, Drax Golf Club, Yorkshire
Robert Smith, 15 to 17 years, Heysham Golf Club, Lancashire
Mark Walsh, 15 to 17 years, Heysham Golf Club, Lancashire

A gallery of images from the Final can be viewed online at www.getintogolf.org/skills

The EGU/EWGA Development Team will be contacting all registered venues in 08/09 to advise of 2009 Challenge Dates. The focus will be on encouraging more golf clubs to actively use the FREE National Skills Challenge coaching activities and take part in official events and to increase the number of junior girls involved.

The National Skills Challenge is an initiative jointly provided by the EGU and EWGA via England Golf’s ‘Whole Sport Plan’ for golf and is an integral part of England Golf’s vision to ‘Grow the Game’.