Two talented young Solihull golfers have been handed the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ after they became the first to be selected for an exclusive Golf Scholarship scheme, worth £2,000.
The scheme is sponsored and organised by Four Ashes Golf Centre, based in Dorridge, on the outskirts of Solihull, and when they announced it during the summer, and asked for young players to be nominated, they were overwhelmed at the response.
Eventually, after studying all the nominees, Four Ashes’ PGA Teaching Professionals Paul Sherrington and Russell Heritage finally selected Thomas Sankar, 13, and 14-year old Lauren Besford – which means they can both now look forward to a year of exclusive coaching and mentoring.
“I’m absolutely thrilled to bits and very excited,” said Thomas, from Knowle, a member of Shirley Golf Club, who has been playing golf since he was seven, and was nominated by his parents Kevin and Beccy. “I absolutely love golf. I spend all my spare time either playing or practising, and one day I would love to be good enough to be a professional player.”
"I can't thank Paul and Russell enough for selecting me"
Lauren, who lives in Solihull, put in her own application for the scholarship, supported by her parents Andrea and Ian. She only took up the sport in 2016, but has proved to be a natural. She earned her first junior handicap in April, and was also selected to attend Warwickshire County Golf coaching sessions, having made a huge impression after joining Copt Heath Golf Club.
“This is a fantastic opportunity, and I can’t thank Paul and Russell enough for selecting me,” said Lauren, who is also a county hockey player. “Like Tom, I am very excited, and I just can’t wait to get started, and make as much of this chance as possible.”
Both Lauren and Thomas will receive weekly tuition from either Paul or Russell, who will also take them out on a local golf course and give them planning and advice.
They will be given regular specialised fitness training at Four Ashes’ fitness facility, under the watchful eye of David Moult, at his onsite fitness studio, CustomFit Functional Sports Fitness. They will have their golf clubs checked monthly, and new grips provided when required, by the Centre’s onsite club repair specialist Phil Lanigan. Their scholarship package also includes £500 of golf balls on the driving range, and free use of the short game practice area.
Both have enormous potential to go far in the game
Said Paul Sherrington: “We had to make two really tough decisions, because there were some very worthy young golfers who were nominated. It took us longer to make that decision than we had originally intended, but we’ve chosen two outstanding young talents.
“Both have enormous potential to go far in the game, and if our Scholarship scheme can push them along in the right direction then that will be our reward for doing it,” he said. “We’re really excited about this Scholarship Scheme, we think we’ve come up with an idea that’s unique in the UK, and we can’t wait to get started with Tom and Lauren.”
Four Ashes Golf Centre, based at Four Ashes Road in Dorridge, Solihull, is one of the area’s foremost specialist golf facilities, with its 28 bay driving range, practice areas, Golf Academy, golf store, golf club repair centre, and fitness room.