SO you are the parents or the guardian of a youngster who is showing a bit of aptitude for golf?
He or she needs your support, but are you sure you know the best way to provide it?
Kendal McWade and Walter Burns are the men behind a popular new winter series – the North of England Under-16 Futures Tour – which includes a guide to any parents who feel they may need assistance.
The main aim of the X-Factor-style series is to help identify as many talented players as possible from across Durham, Cumbria and Northumberland and provide youngsters with competitive winter golf.
McWade, the North of England under-16 coach, and Burns, the organiser of the tournaments, have worked together before on the highly successful Scottish pilot for the series which unearthed 18 junior internationals in five years.
McWade said: “In addition to playing golf, we also ‘test’ the players with a carefully-structured skills challenge on at least one aspect of the game.
“These tests play a much more important role in junior development.
“It not only allows the coaches to see how the players perform the tests, but more importantly how they deal with solving the problems many of the challenges throw up.
“This particular environment also lets us observe how everyone deals with ‘pressure’, success and probably most importantly adversity.
“We want the boys and girls to become aware of how they can practice more effectively when on their own.”
McWade added: “We also want to help the parents with advice on how they can best support their kids on this journey.
“There will be short presentations about this subject at some of the events.
“I have more than 30 years experience as a golf coach and being a dad I know just how much of a challenge it can be. Knowing who to ask for advice or what direction to take is a minefield.
“What we are doing has attracted attention from the University of Central Lancashire where there are two of Europe's foremost experts on Coaching and Performance, Professor Dave Collins and Professor David Grecic.
“They have agreed to help us create the UK’s most effective junior development programme ever.”
The next tournament in the under-16 series is at Matfen Hall, an historic hotbed of golf development, on January 26.
Burns said: “This was postponed from a few weeks ago, although we did manage to get some under-12 coaching done at Matfen along with skill tests.”
The England boys’ under-16 champion, Foxton’s Jake Storey, helped out with the coaching.
Burns added: “That was much appreciated. The under-12s loved it when the McGregor Trophy holder started helping them, they were thrilled.”