Cherwell Edge’s search for its next champion golfer has already started as the club began their winter junior training programme.
With Gary Boyd having come through the club junior ranks to compete full time on the European Tour in four seasons this decade, they are hoping he will provide inspiration for the next generation.
To assist in their promotion of junior golf, the club have enlisted the help of experienced PGA professional Mark McGeehan, who is holding a series of junior sessions on Saturday afternoons.
McGeehan said: “Junior golf is very important to me.
“I was once a young junior learning the game and without the encouragement, support and opportunity that I had, my life would have been very different.
“This is why I am passionate and dedicated to providing a fabulous opportunity for the young kids, to learn not only the technical and physical aspects of golf but also the life skills. Contact the club for more details of how to get involved.”
Boyd, meanwhile, will have to focus most of his attention next year on the European Challenge Tour after he failed to regain his card on the main European Tour for 2017.
After finishing outside the automatic qualification spots, the 30-year-old’s hopes of making it through Final Qualifying ended before they had even started as he was forced to drop out through illness on the eve of the competition.
Fellow county pro Ryan Evans (Wellingborough) is playing this week in Portugal.
Northamptonshire Golf Ltd’s first winter training session was hailed as a success after 36 players attended the full day at Whittlebury Park.
With players from the men’s first and second teams, ladies, seniors and junior teams taking part, including several new faces, the day started with a presentation by their new strength and conditioning team from Prevail Golf Performance.
County PGA professionals Nick Soto, Richard Cartwright, James Whittemore and Adam Cartwright ran a set of skills tests in the morning, before the players had a nine-hole competition after lunch,
NGL director of player development Mike Gilbrook said: “The putting test, which was compared to the PGA average, went to Mark Bazeley who completed the course in 13 strokes against an average of 14.7. The distance prediction test using three wedges on the trackman simulator was won by Luis Witherall - he was an average of only 1.5 yards out per shot.
“Another distance control test, when a player hit five shots with three clubs, was won by Stephen Field who was less than 10 feet away per shot.
“The par test, over six holes, was informative because the purpose was to make the shots really difficult, so much so that sometimes the best option might have been to play away from the target.
“One of the shots had to be a plugged ball in the face of a steep bunker. This test was won by England Boys international Callum Farr, with a very good score of just two over par.
“After lunch, we had a nine-hole round on the Wedgewood course, and this was won by Jack Hall with a three-under-par score. Whilst all this was happening, a dozen players were chosen to have their strength and conditioning assessment with Prevail Golf.
“They will each receive a personalised plan of exercises that they should perform to improve their fitness and range of movement and are designed to help enhance their performance and prevent injury. We are lucky to have such a skilled team like Prevail working with us. It was a really successful day, with a lot of learning and fun had by everyone.”
Father and son Derek and Graham Bott had a week to remember after they both received recognition for their golfing achievements at club and county level respectively.
Graham Bott, who now plays at Wellingborough after several years as a Cold Ashby member, was the first to hear some good news as he was named as the new County first team captain for 2017.
After being part of the Northants side that last won the Anglian League in 2011, he replaces Greg Croxton, who has introduced a number of younger players into the set up over the last few years. Tom Burgh remains in charge of the second team.
Not to be outdone by his son, Derek also received plenty of praise a few days later at his home club of Cold Ashby as he was named 2016 golfer of the year.
Jayne Neale collected the ladies award on a day when the club captains Younus Nabi and Pamela Kerr presented a cheque for £6,620 to Ronald McDonald House Charities following a successful year of fundraising.