YOUNG GOLFER’S TIPS FROM GREAT
Schoolgirl’s mentor was taught by former number one
A HAREFIELD schoolgirl will be taking tips passed down by former world number one Ernie Els after being awarded a junior golf scholarship.
Ruby Richards, 10, who attends Harefield Junior School, has been awarded the scholarship at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club, where the head professional is Lewis Atkinson.
Atkinson was mentored by the four-time major winner Els and it was him who saw Ruby playing and awarded her the scholarship.
Her father, Dave Richards, hopes that her success will encourage other young girls around Uxbridge to take up playing golf.
He said: “The lead professional at the club is Lewis Atkinson, who was mentored by Ernie Els, so he has been through the same type of thing.
“He saw Ruby playing and offered her a junior scholarship. She gets free membership, free coaching and she represents the golf club.
“She’s in the net at the moment and it’s up to her how far she goes with it and how much she wants to try and perform with golf.”
It was Mr Richards who sparked Ruby’s interest in golf when she was eight and has taken her to numerous events, including the Ladies European Masters.
He added: “She’s been playing for two years now, and d started playing when she was eight. She would come down to the range with me to hit a few balls and I thought that she looked like she had a little bit of talent there.
“There is a tournament on every year at the Buckinghamshire Golf Club, which is the headquarters of the Ladies European Tour.
“Every year they hold a tournament – the Ladies European Masters – and they encourage kids, especially girls, to take up golf.
“She went along and was really enjoying it and I thought this is something that she really loves.
“We went over to a bit where they were having a fun day for the kids and she was hitting a few balls when the chairman of the Berkshire, Bu Buckinghamshire and O Oxfordshire Union of Golf Clubs came ov over.
“He said that he’d jus just seen Ruby play an and thought that she ha had a bit of talent abo about her, and asked h her t to come on a training and assessment day and see if she can get onto the programme.
“They said she had passed the assessment day and she now goes and attends BB&O academy training, where they are nurturing her through her training.”
Ruby’s last competition win came in a par three competition at Abbey Hill golf club in Milton Keynes in the winter, and she is hoping to follow in the footsteps of another British champion.
Her father said: “An idol of hers is Charley Hull, who is the British number one and European number one. She’s only 19 so Charlie Hull is a big idol to Ruby and she hopes to follow her success.”
n TALENT: (Above) Ruby Richards (right) with scholarship coach Vicki Harris; (right) Ernie Els