Potential England stars of the future will have the opportunity to cut their competitive teeth against seasoned WPGA pros in an exciting new development.
The WPGA is opening up entry to its popular One Day Series to elite amateur under-16 and under-18s girls as an opportunity to develop their skills in a tournament arena.
PGA chief executive Sandy Jones hopes the decision to allow England Golf’s talented female teenagers to compete will reap rewards in the future.
“I am delighted that England Golf and the WPGA are working together in this way to produce the next generation of outstanding players,” he said.
“The PGA has a number of very good players so this is a fantastic chance for these elite amateurs to test themselves in a competitive environment against experienced professionals.
“The standard of coaching they receive continues to grow year by year, and hopefully this initiative can prove a stepping stone in their playing careers and help them realise their potential and perhaps ambitions of following in the footsteps of golfers like Charley Hull and Melissa Reid.”
Members of England Golf’s regional squads will be able to take on experienced players such as three-time WPGA Professional Champion and former tour player Tracy Loveys, as well as current One Day Series champion Joanne Oliver and past winner Fern Grimshaw.
The series of seven day events will run from May to August and includes several high profile venues including Dunham Forest, which hosts the first event on May 8.
Harry Vardon’s Midland gem, Little Aston hosts the next on May 19 with the remainder at Chestfield (May 30), Kedleston Park (June 23), South Herts (July 23), Salisbury & South Wilts (July 28) and Forest Pines (August 13).
Entry will be for up to 10 players per event with a maximum handicap requirement of four.
Rebecca Wood, performance manager of Women’s Golf, commented: “England Golf is extremely grateful that the WPGA have opened up spaces in each of the events for the aspiring players at regional under 16 and 18 level.
“Not only will the girls get competitive experience on superb golf courses but they will be teeing it up next to experienced professionals. It is a unique chance for them to rub shoulders with female professional golfers and witness first-hand how they manage themselves on the course and make decisions.
“It will foster the development of role models which is very important for young female athletes, finding out about the professional’s individual journeys in golf and the different career paths that are available in the game.
“Without doubt the inclusion of the WPGA One Day Series is adding huge value to the newly structured girl’s regional programme at England Golf which is now providing 20 days of coaching plus additional strength and conditioning support.
“The performance department is excited to see the impact this will make on women’s golf in England over the next few years.”
Photograph: Joanne Oliver, the 2013 WPGA One Day Series champion - courtesy Getty Images.