What an amazing day we had at Worplesdon for the Kitlocker SchoolsGolf National Final on July 4th. The course was looking superb with greens playing fast and true. The wind was up, and swirling, making club selection tricky.

Scratch Trophy

Single figure handicappers, in reality those who are seriously vying for the Scratch Trophy, teed off first on the back tees of the day (Worplesdon have allocated colours to the different tee placements, which is good). Even though these players are from different clubs and schools, they are pretty familiar with each other now.

Winner (73 gross): Harry Dickens, Salisbury 6th Form College

Runner up (74 gross) : Max Gibbs, Claremont Fan Court

Stableford Trophy

We also had the Stableford final taking place, which, thanks to the handicap system, is wide open to any of our young golfers who get into the the zone on the day.

Winner, 42pts: William Lawrence, Gordon’s School

Runner up, 41pts: Ioan Griffiths, Gordon’s School

School Team Trophy

Qualifying schools were competing against each other for the coveted trophy.

Qualifying schools were competing against each other, and to their credit Gordon’s were fielding two teams as a result of impressive performances through the season. Nevertheless, it was a competitive field.

Winners: Gordon’s B respresented by Barnaby, Max and William.
Runners up: Gordon’s A represented by Joshua, Charlotte and Dylan.
3rd place: Portsmouth Grammar School represented by Rohan, Coby and Sebastian

4th place: Reed’s School represented by Zach, Kit and Joe

5th place: Claremont Fan School represented by Max, Tristan and George

6th place: Bede’s represented by Oscar, Jack and Chris

Congratulations to all our finalists

Playing in the final is not only about competing for glory (and trophies and prizes, obviously) it is about so much more:

representing your school at sport

testing your skill against a top course

pitting yourself versus other quality players (and realising you belong in that world)

Stepping outside your comfort zone

Making friends with like-minded people

Making it possible

A big thank you to our tournament sponsors Kitlocker and RBA Wealth Management.

And we would like to thank our partners The Elexis Brown Foundation for identifying for us promising players who we sponsored through our tour. We were so thrilled that Josh (pictured) achieved a place in the final.

Hot shots – photography by Reece Armstrong

Here we are at Sandiway on a very chilly, but dry, day – excellent conditions for playing, but a bit nippy for supporters. So after seeing off the assembled players, the parents congregated in the clubhouse for coffee and breakfasts. And we got chatting. Always fascinating to hear the parents’ perspectives on junior golf, but also slightly shocking to hear of negative experiences their offspring have faced at competitions (not those organised by SchoolsGolf).

We are firmly of the opinion that life lessons are learned through golf, in a manageable way. But today I heard a shocker about a parent (not at a SchoolsGolf comp) actually shouting at a child. Worse still, not his child. What???!!! Apparently the poor kid was having a nightmare round and it all got on top of him and he became tearful – you don’t have to be aged 11 – 18 for that to happen – so this parent shouted that if he couldn’t cope he shouldn’t be on the golf course. Obviously this was reported, and I’m relieved to hear that action was taken.

Helicopter parents exist academically and in sport. There are numerous hilarious social media videos on the subject to enjoy (check out @jimmyrees_ on Instagram). But every now and again it is worth highlighting how toxic this level of parenting can be.

At SchoolsGolf we encourage parents to support their children in their sporting endeavours and if walking around parents should keep their distance and preferably focus on ball spotting rather than the score. For those keen to know the score we offer the option to follow the online scoring.

I’ve heard many time the mantra that ‘high-performing sports people have high-performing parents’. This was explained to me as a parent who is happy to drive the length of the country for a fixture, book that Travel Lodge room, and put up with plenty of venting and annoyed post event journey-home-debrief as well as enjoy the occasional euphoric self-congratulation when it all goes right.

Two of the parents at today’s tournament at Sandiway, Cheshire. Parents are welcome to book in their young players and accompany them to SchoolsGolf events.

So here we are at Sandiway sharing stories and our role as sports parents. The parents here today are clearly very well balanced and say they regard our SchoolsGolf events as development opportunities. One mother was happy for me to share her thoughts: This is the only event where my son is happy to join in with kids from other schools because it is such a friendly and inclusive environment. As a result of playing in SchoolsGolf his all round confidence has grown.”

She went on to say that the role of parents is to help set expectations, both your child’s and your own. She had heard of a mathmatical equation for this: actual experience minus your expectation gives you as score. e.g actual experience 7/10 minus expectation 10/10 means your feelings were a -3. But if expectations were more reasonable, say 6/10 then the resulting feeling would have been positive +1. Behaviour and feelings are so closely related, that a postive result becomes reinforcing. There are podcasts on this subject that explain it all much better, but suffice to say, this is all good advice for parents of aspiring junior golfers. It’s all about the life lessons that golf teaches us, and a couple of useful roles for parents… set expectations (“just enjoy the experience”) and help extract any learnings during any post event chat.

What do you think the role of sports parents is?

SchoolsGolf is dedicated to giving as many kids as possible a competitive game of golf on a top golf course. For a million reasons, we think youngsters benefit from golf – more on that another time. So given that we are trying to make golf as accessible as possible, we are sometimes questioned about schools having to join the programme and affiliate.

There are three things to unpick on the opening sentence:

There are few things that we have done to open up our tournaments to as many young players as possible – making a few tournaments Open competitions is one of them. We still want children to be representing their schools when they play, so permission needs to be in place from the relevent teachers and we have a simple form for that.

We look to provide a competitive environment for all our players. SchoolsGolf tournaments attract scratch players (scratch comp) and developing players (stableford comp and team comp). By having a few Open competitions we can look to attract players to certain tournaments to provide a strong field and to increase inclusivity.

Top courses – our open competitions are some jewels:

Sand Moor – what a great day (see previous post)
Seaton Carew

Sandiway – June 11th book here
Fulwell (girls tournament) June 24th – book here

Parents and teachers are welcome to book their school teams or individual young players onto as many of our competitions as they are eligible to enter. Pick and choose from the dates and clubs that work for you. Every event is at one of the country’s finest. Get in touch if you want more info.

We are really pleased to publicise the new SchoolsGolf Merchandise shop where winners can spend their hard-earned vouchers. Shortly after each event, the prize winners will be emailed their unique prize code.

At each event, the Scratch and Stableford winners and runners-up will receive a trophy and a £30 and £20 voucher, respectively.

We have partnered with Kitlocker for our Merchandise store to deliver this. Kitlocker.com began in 2005 with a vision to revolutionize university teamwear service. Founded by two Sheffield graduates, it pioneered client-specific online stores, simplifying kit ordering. Trusted by prestigious institutions like Oxford and Cambridge, as well as sports bodies like The FA, Kitlocker.com collaborates with brands like Castore, Nike and Adidas, ensuring prompt delivery of desired products. 

We are loving this season’s trophies produced for us by Oak & Black. 

Oak & Black work with reclaimed materials whenever possible and believe that with the right amount of focus, attention, and love, they can turn these materials into beautiful products and heirlooms that will bring joy for years to come.

Our players work hard to earn a trophy and we hope they will cherish these rewards for years to come.

Our Autumn Series provides an amazing opportunity for our young players to qualify for the prestigious 2024 ‘Champion of Champions’ World Championship held in Ireland. This internationally renowned event, which ranks high in the World Amateur Golf Ranking, attracts 250 competitors from over 40 countries. And here’s the best part – the scratch winners of the upcoming SchoolsGolf Autumn Series will each receive an exclusive invitation to compete in the Champion of Champions’ World Championship.

Taking place at Ireland’s finest 5 Star Resort, Lough Erne, this prestigious event will take place in late July. This magnificent venue, masterfully designed by Nick Faldo, a 6-time major champion, has hosted many high profile events including the 2013 G8 World Leaders Summit.. It has also boasted Rory McIlroy as its touring professional for many years and presents an amazing opportunity for our Champions to compete alongside the World’s best.

Follow the Champion of Champions on social media or visit www.worldchampionship.golf for more information on this 5 Star World Championship.

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