Samantha books place in skills final

Costessey Park's Samantha Darling is heading for the grand final of the National Skills Challenge at the National Golf Centre in Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire, in September.

She won the section for 12-14-year-old girls in the South East regional final at Chesfield Downs and now goes on to compete against winners from three other regional finals.

Samantha's golf skills have cut her handicap so far this year from 36 to 25. She was joined at the regional final by another Costessey Park youngster, Monty Platt, who had qualified to take part in the Rookies group for those aged eight and under.

The National Skills Challenge, which encourages young players to have fun while developing their skills, is run by the EWGA and EGU. It's now in its sixth year, with over 700 golf clubs and over 5600 juniors taking part.

However, Karen Young, Norfolk's county golf development officer, is disappointed with Norfolk's response to the Challenge and is urging more clubs to get actively involved.

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There are 19 clubs in the county who have registered for the Challenge and who have received their free resource pack – but only four have taken part this year in either one or both of the Challenges events, which are stepping stones to the regional and national finals. They are Costessey Park, Eaton, Mundesley and Sprowston Manor.

The National Skills Challenge is a series of 10 activities which aim to improve junior golf and make practicing more fun.

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Anyone under the age of 18 can take part and will either be in the Rookie (eight and under, 9 – 11 years) or Tour (12 – 14, 15 – 17 years) groups. Players who complete the official Challenge events can then have their scores inputted on the national online leaderboard.

The two challenge periods this year were each of at least two months, which gave clubs plenty of time to run the events either as part of a coaching programme or as a separate activity.

The top three boys and three girls from each of the four age categories who have completed both Challenges qualify for the Regional Final.

Players at registered clubs receive a Rookie or Tour players' manual, a certificate and a gift after taking part in an official Challenge event – and the opportunity to qualify to play in a regional or national final.

If a junior registers online they will have access to videos of the Challenges, details of events, reports on regional and national finals, downloads and information

Once a golf club signs up to become a National Skills Centre, the organiser receives a resource pack and, after registering online, gets access to a host of information about the Challenge, results, reports and resources.

• For more information about the National Skills Challenge visit

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