Funding from Taskers Trophy in 2018 and 2019 was used to support the County Junior Development Programme. 63 junior golfers in 2019 were able to access a structured programme of coaching and player support. The results were impressive with an average handicap reduction of 29% over the year, and some notable successes at Midland level, with the Under 18 Boys winning the Midland County Cup for the first time ever, the Boys Schools’ team (who all accessed the coaching) winning the Midlands title for the second year running, and the Girls County team emerging Scratch League Champions for the first time in 17 years. Individually three of our lads have won Schools International caps for England, two lads and one girl have been selected for England Regional squads, and one girl has played for the Welsh Girls at the age of 13. We also have the Midland Youths winner at the age of 17 and the runner up in the North of England Under 16s.
Our programme benefits between 60 and 70 golfers, boys and girls, who access a structured programme of support from PGA pros in the county. These young golfers have all been identified as having potential and a number are at the elite end and regular performers for their county. The importance cannot be overstated, as it puts these young golfers on to a county pathway, that not only supports their development but also develops their interest in and love of the sport. The impact has been to see significant handicap reductions, and success at a county level with our Under 18s winning the Midland County Cup for the first time ever, and our Girls winning the Scratch league for the first time in 17 years.
About 70 young golfers will benefit from the Taskers Funding, including over 20 girls. There are 3 categories, ranging from ‘Participation’ level, which targets boys and girls who are quite young (often under 12) and have been identified as having future potential through such as the Futures Tour. ‘Performance’ level supports the development of those with a handicap of about 20 to 8. All are Under 16. The top ‘elite’ level supports the development of our strongest golfers, with single figures handicaps ranging from 8 down to scratch.
In 2018, there was a 26% overall reduction in handicaps 1% above our target of 25%. In 2019 this rose to 29%. The same target remains for 2019. There are also age group handicap targets we are working towards, and performance targets for the elite golfers at Under 14s, 16s, 18s and Girls levels. Plans attached
County Development Objectives met – our key objective of developing winning golfers has been met with our Under 18s winning the Midland County Cup, our Under 16s emerging as 10 Counties Champions, and our girls winning the Scratch League. Our sub-objectives of developing and maintaining a county player pathway goes from strength to strength with the success of the Futures Tour and the introduction of a Mini Tour for golfers with starter CONGU handicaps, bridging the gap to playing full representative golf. Finally building and maintaining a sense of pride in representing the county – responses to our annual survey show that this is being addressed. Our Team Managers and Junior Delegate nurture this and we believe it is the main reason for the success of our Under 18s
John Barker - Chair, Junior Development Group, Derbyshire County Golf