Jonah with the Belfry Trophy
Jonah Ashworth, aged 11 and a pupil at Egerton Primary School in Knutsford, began his golf at the age of 2.5 years and has enjoyed great progress and success at High Legh Park Golf Club.
Jonah said: “My dad put a cut-down junior club in my hands when I was about 2.5 years old and I have loved golf ever since.
“I started attending the High Legh GC Junior Academy, run by Natalie Adams when I was six and she helped me to build the swing I have.
“Matt Dixon the PGA pro at High Legh is coaching me now and we have so much fun whilst I learn and I am so lucky to have the support of these two great coaches.
“Our junior organiser at High Legh is Chris McEwan and she has really encouraged me, helped me get my first handicap and introduced me to the adult competitions that I now play in at the club.
“My family really encourages me- even my little brother and I would love to play lots of different golf courses and keep getting better.
“My favourite golfer is Rory McIlroy as he is the first golfer I remember when growing up and I think that he has a great swing and can generate so much power. I also think that Louis Oosthuizen has the best swing- he makes it look so effortless.
“Golf isn’t easy but it is really addictive and I think that the important thing is to keep it simple and have fun.
“In 2019 I finished second in the Junior Belfry Trophy at High Legh after achieving my first handicap and was delighted to win it this year. I have also won my division in adult competitions twice this year among a number of top placings and I have reduced my handicap from 27.7 to 20.8.
Chris McEwan added: High Legh Park Golf Club isn’t a traditional golf club and doesn’t have a traditional Junior Section. Once a junior achieves a handicap, they are encouraged to play in club competitions and are eligible to win prizes alongside the other members.
The Club has excellent practice facilities, including a flood lit driving range with Toptracer technology. There are also some private teaching bays where coaching is available from the various teaching professionals based at High Legh GC.
“There are various opportunities to play competitively and competitions are usually split into Divisions depending on handicap and include both male and female members in the same competition. There is also an opportunity for juniors to play in Wednesday Midweek competitions and nine hole qualifier competitions held on Fridays on the main course during the Summer months.
“Whilst we don’t have a lot of Juniors, what we lack in numbers is made up for by enthusiasm and we are proud of our junior members and their achievements. Year on year we have seen an increase and are looking forward to being able to enter some team events next year.
“Our Junior Captain is Sam Read, who has reduced his handicap from 13.6 to 9.3 this year and his Junior Vice Captain is Georgia Taylor who plays off 18.
“Juniors who are not members of a Club and don’t have a handicap normally don’t have access to competitive golf, so to encourage them, during ‘normal’ circumstances, a series of competitions are held in the Summer months on the 9 Hole Academy course for both junior members and non-members to play in a competitive environment.
“This provides an opportunity for junior members to submit cards for handicap and for non-members, for a nominal fee to enter the competition, to be allocated a Society Handicap, so that they can compete and see how they are progressing and a prize presentation takes place after each event.
“The intention is to encourage, educate and promote confidence as each group is accompanied by a volunteer to help with etiquette and card marking. This enables them to gain confidence before progressing onto the Championship course.
“The intention is to hopefully recommence these next year. Further information is available on website theagacademy.co.uk under the ‘Junior’ tab.
“The season concludes with The Junior Belfry Trophy which is a Major sponsored competition held on the Championship Course and enjoyed by all.”
Photo & copy courtesy Geoff Garnett