The County, Association and PGA have introduced the Talent Development Pathway, an integrated coaching pathway for junior Boys and Girls, following the provision of funding by England Golf and Sport England. The aim of the Pathway is to develop player skills through Academy and Squad level coaching.
The table below provides guidelines under which the County may accept juniors into the annual Talent Development Pathway. Successful candidates may then be invited for further more detailed coaching afterwards.
Club Junior Organisers (and any interested party) are asked to note that Cheshire has upwards of 3,000 junior golfers in the county and, with perhaps only 150 coaching places available, places are somewhat limited. It is emphasised however that we do want to hear about every junior within the guidelines and coaching places will be spread as much as possible over all age-groups.
The Junior Golfer Report Form is key to coaching selection. These forms must be submitted by Club Junior Organisers to either the Boys Team Manager or the County Secretary no later than 31st August in each year as winter coaching candidates are selected in September.
If we don’t hear about a junior, their chances of coaching selection are slim. If a junior is not chosen one year, they still have the opportunity to be selected in the future. Selection is a function of age and handicap progression. For this same reason, a junior selected one year is not necessarily guaranteed selection in the current or ensuing years. The Junior Golfer Report Form gives us this relevant information.
11 & under
5 (Category 1)
Junior Organisers can make nominations for County Coaching by completing a Junior Golfer Report Form.
At any time the County welcomes information on the County's Junior Golfers.
A Junior Golfer Report Form is provided for Club Junior Organisers to report on the progress of promising juniors. It enables the County to assess their eligibility for Junior Coaching and/or County representation in Junior Team Matches. The County welcomes and encourages all Junior Organisers to report regularly on the progress of juniors in their club, and by working together the County and Club can strengthen their skills at Club, County and possibly Country level.
Please take time to fill in a Junior Golfer Report for your promising juniors. Two electronic versions of the Junior Golfer Report Form are provided:
Initial performance assessments by the Academy and County Coaches take place in the autumn every year at the Sandfield Driving Range and the Adlington Golf Centre. As a result of the assessment letters are sent out to successful juniors to join the Talent Development Pathway with one of the Academy, Under 14 Team, Under 16 Team or Under 18 Team squads. Places in the squads are awarded according to performance, age and places available in the squad.
In addition to the funding support from England Golf and Sport England, the County and the Association are also providing funding but is has been necessary to ask for a contribution of £25 to cover a very small part of the coaching costs.
The pathway draws together 12 coaches from the County, Association and the PGA to deliver coaching sessions. Typical group sessions may be of up to 21 hours spread over 7 sessions, usually between March and September although some sessions are held in Winter and also can include warm climate coaching. Most sessions are held at the home course of the Academy or County Coach but some are held at locations with multiple facilities especially during winter.
The player’s home coach is still very closely involved on the technical side and we hope there is more coach-to-coach communication. Additionally we ask participating juniors to pass on their positive experiences to fellow juniors at their club, making them aware that they too can be considered for our program in the future.
The first level of coaching is the academy squads for Under 14s and 14 to 16 year olds. Each of these squads consists of around six juniors under a specific Academy Coach to focus on individual player skills and to reinforce the priorities. In the academy squads there is continuous performance assessment thereby allowing for movement between squads and for late developers. In September every year there is a review of progress by the players and assessments are held to decide the academy and team squads for the following year. Progression from academy squad to team squad is dependent upon performance and not simply upon age. It is also dependent upon the number of juniors competing for a squad place as there are a limited number of places in each team squad.
Note that juniors attaining the age of 17 become too old to be accepted into the Academy Squads the following year. To continue receiving coaching they must get down to Category 1 handicap and compete for an Under 18 Team Squad place.
The second level of coaching is the team squads, Under 14, Under 16 and Under 18, which offer a more intensive level of coaching aligned to team matches. The Boys and Girls run similar programs for their team squads. The prime focus of the sessions is on the key scoring zone activity (100 yards in), more on course activity, course management, decision making and preparation, to name only a few. The team squads are involved in matches against clubs and other Counties.
There is continuous performance assessment with targeted coaching to help with specific problems. But again progression from one team squad to the next is dependent upon performance and the number of juniors competing for a team squad place. However if a junior does not make the team squad the next year academy squad places may be available to retain keen juniors within the Talent Development Pathway.
The ultimate progression for Under 18 Squad juniors is to the full County Squad Team. This may take several years to be achieved.
The overall coaching operations diagram.
The county coaching managers and county coaches for the current season are given here.
During the season, players are expected to play in Open competitions, County and Regional Championships with the ultimate aims of selection for the County and England Golf Regional Coaching Programs and correspondingly the Mens and Ladies County Teams.
England Golf, the CUGC, the CCLGA and the PGA are quite clear on player and parental confidentiality so individual information must always come from the player or parent after feedback from the coach.
This is an exciting time for Junior Golf in Cheshire and we do hope that this initiative enables more juniors to enjoy this fantastic sport. We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible during each golfing season.