YOUNG GOLFER’S TIPS FROM GREAT

School­girl’s men­tor was taught by for­mer num­ber one

Harefield Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - By Ryan O’Dono­van tms-sport@trin­i­tymir­ror.com

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

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