Cookridge Hall GC

How the introduction of the JGP and junior competitions is helping junior membership thrive at one Yorkshire golf club.

Jonathan Pearson, Head of Junior Development at Cookridge Hall GC was one of a number of leading PGA Professionals who were consulted in the development of the new Junior Golf Passport. Jonathan could see the potential of the programme, so in August 2013 incorporated the Passport into the club’s coaching scheme. The club now has around 150 children actively using the JGP, and its junior section has gained an extra 34 new members.

Cookridge Hall GC understands that innovation is essential to the long term success of its junior academy and the Junior Golf Passport has been one modernisation that has helped the club retain young golfers by giving children, their parents, and coaches a simple resource to chart their progress. To encourage a regular playing habit alongside Passport coaching, Jonathan introduced an incentive scheme whereby children collected stamps for practising in their own time.   Each individual’s achievements are then celebrated on the club’s “wall of fame” where pictures of youngsters receiving their JGP certificates are proudly displayed. 

Increasing the opportunities for juniors to play has been instrumental in the academy’s growth.  While there was plenty of good coaching on offer, the actual amount of time on the course for youngsters to play golf or compete with one another, was limited.  To remedy this, Jonathan piloted 10 junior events at the club which allowed each child to play 6 holes on an appropriately sized course, based upon how far they could hit the ball. As a result, monthly junior competitions now take place and Jonathan recently launched his own venture the ‘JP Junior Golf Series’( which will see similar events rolled out across the county (over 45 junior competitions are planned for 2015.)  The Golf Foundation (and East Midlands & Yorkshire RDO, Stacey Mitchell) support Jonathan’s scheme, in recognition of how it facilitates youngsters playing on the course and complements the JGP programme.  Parents are encouraged to be involved in competitions by accompanying their children on the course or even acting as caddie.  This not only benefits youngsters, but the club too, as a number of parents subsequently signed up to adult memberships.

Cookridge Hall GC values young players so has a dedicated team of 4 PGA Professionals alongside a Junior Organiser who are all committed to supporting young golfers and the club’s achievements were justifiably recognised when it was named GolfMark Club of the Year in 2014.

Main achievements:
•  Over 150 children are enrolled on the Junior Golf Passport and play regularly.
•  The club has gained an extra 34 junior members (this is expected to rise to 50 by the end of 2015.)
•  Around 350 children competed in 10 junior events at the golf club in 2014.

“The JGP has been a superb vehicle for engaging junior golfers and parents.  It has been the key driver in our junior academy’s success over the past few years and a huge influence on us becoming GolfMark Club of the Year in 2014.  The progression that the kids and parents can now see from entry level through to golf club membership is crystal clear.  This I believe brings trust that we as an organisation know how to develop children as young golfers and as people.”      
Jonathan Pearson, Head of Development Cookridge Hall GC