Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

College Launches Golfing Apprenticeship; GOLF

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

College Launches Golfing Apprenticeship; GOLF

Article excerpt

A TYNESIDE college has become the first academic institution in the North East to launch an apprenticeship scheme aimed at equipping talented teenagers with the skills required to become professional golfers, writes TIM TAYLOR. In a joint effort to uncover the next Tiger Woods, Gateshead College has honed in on Matfen Hall's facilities to offer a Golf Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence programme (AASE).

The initiative has been launched a few days after John Harrison, Matfen Hall's director of coaching, qualified to make his debut next year on the European Senior Tour by winning Final Qualifying in Portugal, shooting four sub-70 scores.

Students from Gateshead College's Golf Academy have already participated in a driving, chipping, pitching and putting skills master class under the expert eye of Harrison and Matfen teaching professional JJ Vallely. The apprenticeship, supported by the English Golf Union, is open to gifted young players aged 16 - 19, including those already at the college's Golf Academy, who demonstrate they have the potential for a career on the European Tour.

The AASE programme provides a two-year structured training and development course. The students will work towards an NVQ Level 3 Achieving Excellence in Sports Performance as well as a BTEC Certificate in Sport (Performance and Excellence).

They can take advantage of the college's training and conditioning facilities, as well as the facilities at Matfen's golf academy.

Gateshead will host their College Championship at Matfen in June where club professionals will run a pretournament clinic and play their home matches at the club next season.

Harrison, who will continue to write The Journal's Dr John golf advice column next season, despite his new tour commitments, said: "The programme is a fantastic opportunity for the next generation of young players. …

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