Teeing up for a career in golf with the OCVC Academy
14 February 2012
Talented young Oxfordshire golfers are being offered the chance to help build on the success of a growing academy. It’s a partnership between Oxford & Cherwell Valley College and Kirtlington Golf Club and has already seen its first student go on to University and a second secure an unconditional offer for a place. Now the Academy is recruiting students aged 16-19, with a handicap of 12 or lower, for its 2012/13 programme.
Students on the full-time course study for a BTEC in Sport and Exercise Science. They divide their time between sport-related activities at the Oxford Brookes University campus in Headington, classroom based programmes at OCVC in Oxford and weekly professional golf coaching sessions at the Golf Club. OCVC Course Leader, Hamish MacCurrach, says: “This is a very practical course allowing our students to develop their knowledge in a range of Sports Science topics at the same time as improving their coaching and playing skills and abilities. As we are already seeing with students who’ve been in the programme, it offers an excellent progression route into Higher Education or into the workplace, and a fantastic opportunity to pursue a long-term career in golf.”
The Academy’s first student was Elliot Bradley who is now at The Tournament Golf College (part of The University of Plymouth) studying for a Foundation Degree. Now 18, Elliot was at The Henry Box School in Witney before joining OCVC. Speaking from a winter training camp in Portugal where he’s been taking part in the Algarve Winter Tour, Elliot says: “I studied sports science and golf at OCVC. It was a great opportunity for me to improve my golf game whilst at the same time gaining qualifications. The golf and the educational aspects of the course go hand in hand and I used much of what I learnt to improve my golf game. This, alongside the excellent coaching, allowed me to reduce my handicap significantly. As a result of the course at OCVC, I was able to secure a place to study Tournament Golf with The University of Plymouth. Whilst there I’ve been playing at St Mellion and associating with some top class amateurs.”
This year’s programme has three students, Robbie Nicholson (18), Dan Willoughby (17) and Carl Shirley (17). Robbie, who is now applying for university through UCAS and has already had one unconditional offer, says: “Being able to have quality golf coaching whilst learning the academic side of things is a great combination. It’s an opportunity I have really enjoyed, and opened up a new perspective on education, while allowing me to improve my golf game.” Dan says: “It’s a great chance to work with a great coach, and being at OCVC has opened up more opportunities for me in the future.” Carl says: “We play hard but it’s also a fun environment and I’m learning a lot from the course.” Kirtlington Golf Club Teaching Professional, Andy Taylor, says: “We have created an excellent programme that helps young golfers work towards their golfing dreams while continuing their academic studies. I’m very proud to be involved.”
There are more details on the academy at www.ocvc.ac.uk. Just type ‘golf’ into the search box.