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New plans for Cumbria County Academy in 2012
November 29, 2011

An exciting new plan to help promising young golfers in Cumbria is to be launched next year.

Eight centres across the county will be targeting children with the potential to develop their skills.

Twelve hours of expert coaching with PGA professionals will be available to those players earning a place on the Cumbria Golf Partnership's County Academy programme.

Assessment days for the Academy will be held in February, 2012, aimed at golfers in the nine to 14 age group who already have a club or CONGU handicap.

A chance for the successful players and parents to meet the centre professionals will be held in March before the coaching sessions start in April.

Silecroft Golf Club secretary Keith Newton has been appointed to the new post of County Academy Programme co-ordinator.

"We believe the new County Academy structure will provide an important stepping stone for young players across the county," explained Keith Newton. "It will help bridge the gap between young golfers with potential and the county junior sides.

"It means players going forward for county trials, for example, will be better prepared while others will be able to go back to their clubs with a recommended list of the areas of their game to work on.

"It will provide a stronger structure for junior golf in Cumbria from top to bottom.

"There is a lot of work going on through the Golf Foundation to encourage children in schools to give golf a try and to then go along to clubs for additional coaching. The County Academy gives young golfers with potential a further opportunity to develop their skills even more while the county teams provide further coaching and competition for the better players."

The eight centres will be at Eden Golf Club, Carlisle GC, Penrith GC, Barrow GC, Whitehaven GC, Carus Green GC, Bentham GC and Appleby GC.

"We believe these centres provide a good geographical spread across the county," added Keith Newton. "Throughout the county we are fortunate to have a lot of good coaches and the County Academy is just one part of the work going in with all the PGA professionals to deliver a wide range of schemes aimed at encouraging more people into golf under the umbrella of the Cumbria County Golf Partnership."

Keith Newton, a retired prison officer who lives in Millom and plays off 13, believes the changes to the County Academy programme show how the sport is altering its approach to helping a new generation of players take up golf.

"When I was a child I was on the wrong end of an attitude that did not like to see children out on the course - especially if they were hitting the ball longer and straighter!" he says. "But golf needs to welcome new players of all ages into the sport to protect the long-term future of our clubs."

It is intended to run five events for Academy only players next summer, including one team event and taking part in the annual challenge match against Northumberland and Durham.

There will also be an end of season Skills Challenge and presentation evening when the players will be able to demonstrate what they have learnt over the summer.

Those players that miss out on a County Academy place will be offered the chance of a further assessment to pinpoint the areas of the game they need to work on.

"We see this as a long-term plan to raise the skill levels of not only the players who make it onto the Academy but also those who are keen to learn and willing to put in the extra effort to develop their game," added Keith Newton.

Jane Robinson, county development officer for the Cumbria County Golf Partnership, said: "We believe the new County Academy structure will benefit clubs and players across the whole county by providing youngsters with top class coaching and a number of events in which to test their new-found skills against their peer group.

"The County Academy programme is now in its third year and continues to develop to meet the needs of the players, coaches, clubs and county teams."

Full details of the County Academy programme can be found at the Partnership's website, , which will be updated as further details are announced.

The Cumbria County Golf Partnership is a collaboration of a number of stakeholders in the sport including the English Golf Union, The English Women's Golf Association, the PGA, the Golf Foundation and Sport England.

In Cumbria the partnership is supported by the Cumbria Ladies County Golf Association, the Cumbria Union of Golf Clubs, The Eden Valley Sports Partnership and the PGA North East/West.

For more details of the activities in Cumbria visit

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