St Andrews once more for the SGS College Golfers
The Association of Colleges (AoC) Open Golf Championships took place in early March at the spiritual home of golf, St. Andrews. This can be a brutal time of the year for golf, with a cold wind that cuts through your clothing, challenging not only your physical abilities but, to a greater degree, the mental strength of any golfer.
With this in mind, the SGS College Golf Academy took 12 students on a five day tour that included the AoC Championships at the Fairmont Golf Resort. In order to maximise practice time and to acclimatise not only to the weather but the very different form of golf, which would be required on the windy Links of Fairmont, it was decided to fly up to Edinburgh.
The one hour flight meant the students were fresh and ready to go and able to play two practice rounds on both the beautiful Kittocks and Torrance courses, ensuring they could plan for the 36 hole event in detail.
Driving straight from the airport to our first practice round the Academy was met by sunny skies and comparatively little wind. Having played many times in Scotland the coaches were at pains to point out that this could change very quickly. They were to be proven correct during the course of the event.
Day one of the Championships dawned bright and sunny with little of the expected links wind. Several of the students took advantage, with Harry Bowness leading after round one with a great score of 71 (-1), closely followed Jamie Cooper in third place. Rob Francombe, one of the first years, had a net 66 leaving him second in the net event.
Day two was a very different test, with gusting winds that blew many golf balls and scores away into the cold North Sea. The home stretch on the Kittocks was perhaps one of the most difficult any of the students or coaches had played, with winds that threatened to blow the players off their feet. Harry Bowness would battle it out to finish joint third with Jamie Cooper in seventh.
The final day was at the much respected and internationally renowned, Ladybank Golf Club. Ladybank has been the venue for Open qualifying on many occasions. Coach Kelvin had played in the Open qualifier some 35 years earlier and although was unable to recollect all of the holes, was delighted to be back walking the fairways again.
Pete Langford, Head of Golf said: “This was our first tour to the AOC champs in Scotland and although extremely tough it proved to be a great success with the students. It was as much about building team spirit and finding out about the realities of golf on tour as it was about the golf. Learning the numerous factors that affect how you play is an important part of any golfers long-term growth. But with time to reflect and evaluate, those lessons are more likely to be learnt.”
For more information, about SGS (Filton) College and the Golf programme, contact Peter Langford via email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 07920 151201.
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