Cottingham Parks Junior Development Programme
The Junior Development Programme - what’s it all about?
The Junior Development Programme, or JDP, as it is known nowadays used to be called simply “the Junior Section”.
The JDP started its` life in 2010 when Ken Hilton started working with his great friend and mentor Jim O`Brien.
Jim had seen many good golfers in his years as the Junior Organiser, and the one thing that Jim recognised was the fluidity of Junior golfers coming through the system.
We at Cottingham Parks had always had some good golfers because our course is tough and demanding, especially off the white tees; but what we did not have was a steady flow of Juniors year on year coming through our Academy.
We think we have now gone a long way to achieving this.
A lot of hard work and discipline has gone into creating what we have today, and the following articles will give you an insight into what we have achieved, what the children have achieved, and what we do today.
Enjoying golf is a huge part of the JDP, and we make sure we have fun as we develop our young golfers. We know not everyone can be the next Tiger Woods, but we want every young golfer to be the best they can be no matter what their ability, and to grow to love the game as much as we do!
THE HISTORY OF THE JDP – the beginning.
The JDP simply means JUNIOR DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMME and having our own autonomy was crucial to the progress we have made in the last 10 years.
Prior to the JDP being recognised as a separate entity within the umbrella of Cottingham Parks, all of our finances were controlled and run by the Mens` section.
I had a meeting with John and Rob Wiles back in 2010 and explained fully what we hoped to achieve by having that autonomy. We had to become responsible for everything to do with the JDP: not just golf but finance, the future planning and also discipline to a certain extent.
To that ideal we also had to have full support from all the sections within the Club, and also the coaching staff, namely Mark and Alex and now Will.
The biggest task by far was the finances. As the great men in Yorkshire Business say, “If you start wi’ nowt, then the only way is up”! Jess Drinkall, Harry Woolfall and I even went on Radio Humberside to advertise our predicament.
We then, in 2010 had to overcome a whole host of problems, some of which were too complicated to even conquer so we circumvented them instead, but it was dawning upon us just how difficult it was to get the JDP up and running.
Following a meeting with the Chief Coach at that time, Chris Gray, he identified the one weakness in every Juniors` game and that was ‘The Game within the Game’.
For those of you familiar with golf this saying is about getting the ball in the hole from around the green area i.e. Apron, Bunker and Green. The answer, back in 2011 was to build a new all-weather practice facility, so that even in the cold dark months we would still have an area not affected by the elements to allow us to practice.
Following another series of meetings with management they agreed to help fund the project if we could raise half the funds ourselves.
The new facility was budgeted at £25,000 back in 2011 but as usual, costs escalated dramatically over the years until the final price came in at just under £40,000.
Where to find our half of £20,000???
Well, again John Wiles came to the rescue as he indicated that he had 14 tonnes of prime horse manure just waiting to be bagged up!!
....More about that next time!
By Ken Hilton, Junior Organiser.