The Faldo Series Heads to Kedleston Park
Report by Golfshake Ambassador Andy Picken
It's dawn at Kedleston Park Golf Club in Derbyshire. There is a palpable feeling of excitement around the clubhouse and practice putting green overlooking the 18th.
I am watching the opening day of a three day event that is part of the Faldo Series Europe. Established in 1996, The Faldo Series is recognised as the only global amateur series for boys and girls. Competitors from ages 12 to 21 have the opportunity to play WAGR counting events whilst testing themselves against the very best juniors around the world, with the chance to meet Series Founder, Sir Nick Faldo, at the Faldo Series Europe Grand Final. The current Grand Final venue in Europe is Al Ain Equestrian, Shooting & Golf Club, UAE.
This is an open event so competitors have travelled from all points of the United Kingdom. Safe, social distancing is challenging under these circumstances but the guidelines are clear, easy to follow and strictly policed. One-way systems operate around the course surrounds and even the clubhouse and locker rooms.
Live leaderboards are in operation so competitors record scores via the Faldo App backed up by a card maintained by one of the group.
The event operates in three-ball format. The starter carefully explained the event rules and then offered each competitor to self-select from a lidded box their card, local rules and pin positions for the day to restrict the amount of handling to an absolute minimum.
Competition rules prevent any competitor having a caddie or speaking to any spectators during play.
There was a decent gallery consisting mainly of parents and grandparents of the competitors and they acted as forecaddies by positioning themselves well ahead of the players.
The series has established a clear path way to success in professional golf. Alumni of the series include: Tom Lewis, Nick Dougherty, Rory McIlroy, Adrian Otaegui, Oli Fisher, Carly Booth, Eddie Pepperell, Henni Zuel, Holly Clyburn, Matt Wallace, Melissa Reid to name a few.
The standard of some of the golf has been sublime. What a pleasure to be able to watch some of the stars of the future compete on such an excellently presented facility as Kedleston Park.
Chatting to some of the expectant parents before play it is clear that there is a community of followers despite the fact that all are competing against each other. They swapped notes on hotels and accommodation locally and are all clearly very happy to travel the length of the UK to allow the juniors to compete for world ranking points and future stardom.
Good fortune to all competitors and supporters. If the weather stays fair then some highly competitive scoring is expected.
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