Supporting Derbyshire Juniors for the Long Term

  • Reading time:6 mins read
  • Post author:John Barker, Junior Development Committee.
  • Derbyshire County Golf
  • Post category:Junior Golf

Previous years Taskers Trophy Funding has provided many benefits, as mentioned below, the programme is beginning to have real long-term benefits for the development of the sport.

There are now 8 Assistant Professional working across clubs in Derbyshire and beyond who have been beneficiaries of our County programme. They are now supporting further development by leading our Coaching programme. They are feeding back in to the system we have established.

Individually, just this year, three have made it in to the Men’s County 1 st team, and regularly play for the second team; 2 made it in to the England schools’ Team who played against Wales. Amongst the girls, we have three who are regularly playing for the County Ladies, and one who represented Wales in the R and A Home Internationals and has played for the Wales Under 18s at age 15.

The programme continues to support our County pathway, and benefits over 150 young golfers, boys and girls, who access a structured programme of support. From absolute beginners accessing our Futures Tour and NextGen Tour to elite players performing at the highest levels of junior golf. They have the opportunity to access great coaching from PGA pros in the county and to participate in a range of events, from those targeting beginners without handicaps to those such as our County Championships. The importance cannot be overstated. It gives young golfers a flavour of competition, many for the first time, and also 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.

With over 50 players in each event, and 75 in total, we had a throughput of 447, vastly beyond our target of 270 from 2 years ago, though slightly below our 500 target. A survey we conduct at the end of the season shows its popularity. There is hardly a junior competing for the County age group teams who hasn’t been involved in the Futures Tour.

The ‘Race to Kedleston’ goes from strength to strength. Points are accrued over the season by young golfers playing in County events and Junior Opens. This has allowed us to better support our clubs, with an over 30% increase in entries to Junior Opens generated through interest in the ‘R2K’. We have also once again, seen handicaps of youngsters on our County programmes drop by an average of almost 30%. More importantly however, the structure we have put in place encourages the game to flourish from beginner to elite.

At inter-County level, we have had great success. The Under 18s won the West Midlands League and narrowly lost to Notts in the Midlands Final. The Under 14s have had their best season ever, winning the Keith Tripp Trophy for the first time, and the Girls Handicap squad won the Midlands League for the first time ever.

2023 targets and achievements in brackets ()

  • BOYS U18 – 8 x Players – 3 H’cap or better (10 achieved)
  • U16 – 10 Players – 6 H’cap or better (11 under 7.0)
  • U14 – 12 Players – 10 H’cap or better (13 at 12.0 or better)
  • GIRLS U18 – 3 x Players – 8 H’cap or better (7 at 8 or better)
  • U16 – 6 x players – 12 H’cap or better (7 at 12 or better)
  • U14 – 10 x players – 20 H’cap or better (10 at 30 or better)

Over 70 young golfers will benefit, 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 6. All are Under 16. The top ‘elite’ level supports the development of our strongest golfers, with single figure handicaps ranging from 6 down to scratch and beyond.

About 100 youngsters will benefit, including another 20 girls. They will compete in either:

Futures Tour and NextGen Tour – a range of 9 hole competitions for beginners, for those without handicaps, and those with high handicaps, which run throughout the County on Sunday afternoons in the summer, competing for an Order of Merit Trophy in their age groups (aged 8-13). It all concludes with a fantastic presentation event (pictures included).

Race to Kedleston – an ongoing Order of Merit running throughout the season, where the top 6 gross and nett points scorers qualify for a Grand Final at Kedleston in September.

Our Ambition for Junior Golf is to strengthen the talent development pathway from club to county and national level.

The strategic priorities:

  1. More players: Increasing the number of juniors who play golf regularly. The Futures Tour and NextGen Tour will target a number of different players – 80 and a throughput of players – 500 for 2024.
  2. High Quality competitions – to run high quality county competitions for beginner through to experienced junior golfers, beginning with the Futures Tour, moving to the NextGen and culminating with the Race to Kedleston and our County Championships. Our evidence will be the numbers playing in it year on year and a player/parent survey at the end of the season.
  3. Stronger County Junior teams: To identify and develop talented junior golfers, creating winning
    Derbyshire teams at all levels. Handicap reductions for County golfers accessing the Coaching programme – target of 30% year on year. BOYS U18 – 12 x Players – 3 H’cap or better.
    Those on programme above to average a reduction in handicap of over 25% in 2024 season
    GIRLS U18 – 8 x Players – 8 H’cap or better
    Those on programme above to average a reduction in handicap of over 25% in 2024 season

John Barker, Junior Development Committee. - Derbyshire County Golf

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