Another summer goes by and despite corona virus, it appears yet again that Cottesmore’s juniors lead the way within Sussex. In the Sussex under 12s championship Leo Cahi dominated winning the gross by 3 shots. In the Sussex under 13s championship, not only did Cottesmore players take 1st, 2nd and 3rd, but they had 5 players in the top 7 places (in 2019 Cottesmore had the top 4 places pictured left). In the under 14s championship Elliot Fillion was runner up with Joseph Byrne taking 3rd spot in the gross. In the under 15s championship Joseph improved and took 2nd place in the gross with Bailey Penalver taking 3rd in the net and in the Sussex under 18s Josh Greig took 2nd overall despite tying with the winner and was only denied a playoff because of corona virus, losing on count back. In the Covey Cup (Sussex Team Championships) Cottesmore are unbeaten since 2016 and Cottesmore has won the North Sussex League every year that it has been played.
Why Cottesmore is so strong has 2 very easy answers. Cottesmore gives these kids the opportunity to play and the opportunity to compete. Yes they have regular lessons, yes they are coached by PGA qualified coaches and not the junior assistants as it used to happen at most other clubs, but it is having the opportunity to play and compete that teaches these kids the necessary lessons. The Academy alone has over 40 events each year for the kids to play in, the junior members have another 12 events on top of that number plus the ability to play in the adult events once boys are down to 28.0 and girls are 36.0 handicap. In short, they learn their ‘trade’ on the golf course. The other reason is just as simple, the academy was set up in a way that it attracted kids to the game of golf and with the number of kids coming in they all had peers to play against, other players to beat and get beat by. Players to motivate them to work hard so that they can come out on top next time. We wanted them to bounce off each other and pull each other along. Some will lead and others will be caught up in the slip stream, being pulled along and in doing so stay motivated with a clear goal in their mind. There is always the stairway in front of them to climb. They move from Kids Fun Golf Days and Free Taster sessions into the academy coaching and events, then up into the junior members events, then the adult events and the Sussex county events.. They are used to looking beyond where they are to see the next step and are used to understanding what they have to do to get to the next level. Most importantly they get to do this at their own pace and only if they wish to. It is up to them how far they look and climb, but Cottesmore ensures that there is always another level above them. Never do we want them to feel that they have reached the top, never are they good enough if they wish to reach the top … like any computer game, there is always another level. It is also the same with the smart practice games that we teach them, never can the youngster out grow them, never are they too good to play them … there is always another level … wedge practice, putting 21, putting pace drill, par 18, there is always a level above for them to strive towards. They can compete with themselves in practice or find a buddy to beat.
Their parents allow them to be at the golf club on a regular basis, knowing that it is a safe place for them to spend their time. If you follow the 10,000 hour rule, then Cottesmore gives them that opportunity and as it is a safe place then their parents are happy to bring them to the club and encourage them to make use of that opportunity.
There are many kids that do get stuck on the range and do not get out onto the golf course enough and it has been proven year after year that those kids who do not get out onto the golf course are the ones most likely to NOT fall in love with the sport and thus not continue with it. This is the reason why in our holiday camp days we spend up to 3 hours on the golf course each day and introduce them to fun practice games. It has also been proven year after year that the improvement of the kids that come out of the academy early dramatically slows down.
Kids want to be challenged and get to the next level. If it is too easy or too difficult, if there is no where to progress to, they will move to something else. Imagine a kid playing a computer game and getting stuck on a level and not even knowing if there was another level beyond it. They are eventually going to get bored and give up that game and find another one. This is why it is so important to ensure that kids get onto the golf course and take part in fun events. It is so important that their practice is a challenge and not just hitting balls. They want to find that next level and it is so important that they do. For kids to strive towards their potential, the opportunities to play must be available to them.