For the first time in its history, Tudor Park Marriott Hotel & Country Club in Bearsted has a junior golf team ready to compete in local matches at the start of next season.
At Friday’s junior awards evening, the team members proudly showed off their new kit, sponsored by one of Tudor Park’s adult members and its Men’s Committee.
The formation of a junior golf team has been possible due to the huge leap forward in the number of young players coming to Tudor Park which has seen junior membership increase by 20% in the last year.
“We have made junior golf a key focus over the past 18 months, and both ourselves and our adult members are committed to encouraging young players to join in, have fun and become competitive in a sport they love,” says Stephen Haffenden, Junior Golf Organiser. “We have seen so much progress amongst our young players, from those that come along to our school holiday golf camps, to our junior members – a lot of them are more than good enough to play competitively.”
Tudor Park holds GolfMark status, endorsed by the English Golf Union and English Women’s Golf Association, which recognises clubs that make an outstanding and innovative contribution to junior and beginner golf. It was one of the first golf clubs in Kent to have academy tees on its 18-hole golf course allowing junior players (and adult beginners) to tee off closer to the green. This year, it expanded its junior golf camps to accommodate a growing number of children interested in learning to play golf during the school holidays, and it started an order of merit competition for its junior members.
Friday was the first time the club had held a junior awards event and the evening was a celebration of young golfing talent. The junior club championship trophy was won by 14-year-old Bailey Korkis, a pupil at The Harvey Grammar School in Folkestone, and a special trophy was presented to Ellena Slater, a pupil at Maidstone Grammar School for Girls, who won the adult ladies club championship, at the age of just 13.
Next year, Tudor Park plans to introduce its junior team to home and away friendly matches, hold junior match play competitions, and encourage youngsters to play in its adult competitions.