Oulton Hall – part of QHotels, the UK’s largest golf resort operator – has made competitive golf more accessible for the younger generation with the addition of junior tees on its Hall course.
The nine-hole, par-36 course was added to the existing 18-hole Calverley course – both designed by the late Dave Thomas – at the Leeds resort to add an extra option for golfers, and now new ‘FUEL’ (Future Elite) junior tees have been included to create a “fun-length” layout to help younger golfers get out on the course.
The FUEL junior programme at Oulton Hall has already reaped rewards with eight-year-old Sam McIntyre winning the over-eight category of the American Golf Junior Championships’ Ping Star of the Future last month. Last year, McIntyre was crowned Star of the Future in the under-eight section and stepped up an age group for 2017 – yet he still emerged victorious.
And the boys’ team won the Ken Romaine Salver, in the Leeds and District Union of Golf Clubs Team Championship, after an unbeaten season saw them win league division three.
While coaches at the club have taken great pride in all the youngsters’ achievements, individually and collectively, they stress for many juniors, golf should simply be fun.
Tom Devine, a PGA Advanced Professional and the FUEL golf junior programme director at Oulton Hall, said: “It’s great that Sam has achieved so much in such a short time and we will continue to work with him to allow him the chance of achieving his potential. But there are many more young golfers coming through the academy for whom golf is just fun and this is why we have created the junior tees on the Hall Course.
“These tees create much shorter holes than the traditional junior length golf course, with the idea being that if an adult can make a par-four then so can a junior. The junior par-five holes are around 200 yards, the par-four holes around 140 yards and the par-threes around 70 yards. Essentially, the idea is that this is a ‘fun-length’ course for the children, allowing them to enjoy the golf course experience without taking 10-plus shots on each hole.”
He added: “As part of our FUEL junior programme, we run monthly competitions for the children. It is not until they reach the fifth level of our seven-level grading system that they move away from the junior tees and on to the ladies’ tees. This acts as a pathway for beginner golfers and helps youngsters engage with the sport.”
Free outreach to schools and open weekends, a structured learning programme for five to 16-year-olds in seven modules and free membership are all included in the QGolf Academy FUEL golf tuition programme, Yorkshire’s leading junior golf coaching initiative.
Part of the multi-award-winning QHotels group, Oulton Hall features 27 holes designed by leading golf course architect Dave Thomas and outstanding practice facilities, boasting the north of England’s leading golf performance centre.