HEXHAM, ENGLAND - JUNE 01: (L-R) Nairn Barclay, Phil Ridden, Josh Caldicott, Harrison Sewell, Ratchanon Chantanauwat of Thailand, David Rollo, Mark Laverick, Andrew Griffiths and Angus Buchanan pose with a cheque displaying a donation from The Asian Tour to Northumberland Union of Golf Clubs Juniors ahead of the International Series England at Slaley Hall on June 01, 2022 in Hexham, England. (Photo by Jan Kruger/LIV Golf/Getty Images)

Asian Tour’s International Series gives £20,000 to Northumberland union to support juniors

The Northumberland Union of Golf Clubs has received a £20,000 donation from the first International Series England tournament at Slaley Hall, and will use the funding boost to expand its coaching programmes for under-18s for the next five years.

The Northumberland Union of Golf Clubs (NUGC) received the money as a thank you from the Asian Tour event for the work the county does in helping young golfers.

The union is solely funded by an annual £5 levy, paid by approximately 15,000 members. Although this may sound considerable, on a national scale it makes Northumberland one of the smaller golfing counties in England, meaning there is little discretionary spend available for coaching for young golfers.

The county’s junior golf programme is managed by Mark Laverick, Simon Coultas, Phil Ridden and county captain Graham Forrest. During their four years leading the programme, the NUGC boys’ results have improved immeasurably, including winning the 2021 Northern Counties Boys Championship – the county’s first win in the event in 28 years – followed by a first-ever win in the English County Finals.

Now, thanks to the sizeable donation from the history-making event, NUGC has the chance to build on its success story and create an enduring legacy for junior golf in this region.

Graham said: “Too often the North East of England is forgotten about, particularly in golf terms. This financial input, together with the substantial time put in by many county administrators, could help establish Northumberland junior golf at the forefront of the sport nationally for many years to come.”

David Rollo, COO of the Asian Tour, said: “It is our immense honour to hand this cheque over to the Northumberland Union of Golf Clubs. Wherever we take these events, it is vital to us that their impact is being felt within golf from grassroots level up. The work Mark, Simon, Phil and Graham have done over the last four years at the NUGC has been incredible to learn about and we wish them and all their young golfers every success for the coming years.”

As well as the donation, four of the NUGC junior golfers enjoyed the chance of teeing it up alongside stars in the pro am staged on the eve of the tournament at Slaley Hall – with Andrew Griffiths playing alongside former US Open champion Michael Campbell, and Nairn Barclay and Angus Buchanan teeing it up with Australian Scott Hend.