William on course for successful golfing career

RGS junior golfer William Hixon has reduced his handicap by a staggering 16 - from 23 to 7 - and is now considering applying for a golf scholarship in the States. ROBBIE EAMES reports

RIPON Grammar School student William Hixon has enjoyed a busy summer this year, playing golf at both U14 and U16 Yorkshire Championships and the North of England Championships.

William, in Year 9, also represents Ripon City Golf Club in the Harrogate and District Union junior league; the first time the Ripon club had anyone represent them in this league for the past seven years.

In August, William won the Wilkinson Shield at Leeds Golf Club for achieving the best net score of the day.

To end the season, William won the Harrogate and District Union of Golf Clubs John Parry Trophy for the most improved junior golfer of the year after reducing his handicap impressively from 23 to 7.

William’s hard work over the summer has paid off after being one of only 12 selected for the U15s Yorkshire County Squad.The 26 juniors who attended selection played nine holes of golf at Sandburn Hall and were watched by the professional coaches.

Following this they were then split into three groups to practise some short game routines. It’s proven statistically that the more accurate and skilled you are at holing out from 120 yards, the better golfer you will be. The boys recorded how close they got each shot to the hole at various distances, points being awarded for each shot within a certain distance.

At the end of the afternoon, prizes were awarded for the best score achieved in each exercise and the nine-hole competition.

William has now had three sessions with the Yorkshire squad and each time learns new techniques and practice routines that will help him improve. Some of the coaches involved are currently assisting professionals on the EuropeanTour, so this is top quality input for the next generation.

William, if selected, will play for Yorkshire’s U16 team against other northern counties during the summer months.

He will also be representing RGS in a School’s Association competition in Ripon next March. He will also be playing the North of England and Yorkshire Under 14 & 16 Championship at South Moor Golf Club and Dewsbury & District respectively.

Should his handicap be low enough he would like to play in the Yorkshire Amateur Championship at Lindrick, Sheffield.

During the winter months and the colder weather, William tries to play most weekends and practises at Rudding Park driving range twice during the week.

During the golf season William plays or practises most days of week if possible, sometimes playing 36 holes in a day: “He’s always had golf clubs to mess around with but has played competitively since gaining a handicap in autumn 2018,” says William’s dad Peter.

He and William have recently attended a presentation for an agency which arranges golf scholarships in the States as the USA State College Golf system produces some of the best golfers in the world.

William is seriously thinking about this, but the decision is very much dependent on him attaining the appropriate qualifications and having a competitive enough scoring average.