Alex Bonfield -Junior Captain at Fulford Golf Club
We'd like to thank Alex Bonfield for sharing her Junior Captain's Blog with us...
Hi I'm Alex, and this week (26 March 22) I started my role as Junior Captain at Fulford Golf Club in York. I'm really excited about my role - it's a chance to make a difference, to help to raise the profile of Juniors in golf, to drive some great engagement between the Juniors and the Adults and to ensure that we have a voice that will help to shape the future of the club.
But first, a little bit about me:-
Profile: Alex Bonfield
Fulford Golf Club Junior Captain
How did you get into golf?
I started playing when I was 5. My Dad would go to York Golf Range every weekend, and one time he took me along, bought me a 9 iron and signed me up with the Pro, Andrew Smith, for the Young Master of Golf Cadets course. I've never looked back! I was the only girl in the group, but I didn’t mind - it was great fun beating the boys! 11 years later and Andrew is still my coach
Where do you play?
When I was 10 I joined Fulford Golf Club. It's a privilege to play here - Fulford is one of the best courses in Yorkshire and has such great history - as a championship course it hosted European Tour events for 3 decades and was made famous when Bernard Langer chose to play his 3rd shot on the 17th out of the Ash tree. Since then we have hosted a range of national events, including most recently the R&A Girls U16 Championships and last year the R&A Girls Amateur.
A Championship course - that must be a challenge for any Junior?
It has tested some of the best amateur and professional golfers in the world and it was a bit overwhelming at first, but to start with the Juniors start off on the 'green tees' and can play a short loop of 6 holes on Fridays after school. Building up to 18 holes, and then moving on to the longer tees when you're ready. The set up is great - all of the Juniors are supported to play at the level that's best for them, with loads of help from the Junior Organiser, Club Professionals and parents
So you have a big Junior section?
It's quite large - 50-60 members over the year, and it's good to see that we’re starting to get a few more girls coming in
So how did you come to be elected Junior Captain?
I put myself forward for election as Junior Vice Captain last year and was voted in by the Junior Committee. But it all started 5 years ago. The Junior Captain at the time made a big impression on me - he was a scratch golfer and a County player but he took time out to get to know all of the Junior members and their parents, he played rounds with everyone, however good they were. He was a real role model and I remember thinking, If I ever get the opportunity to be Junior Captain, I want to be just like that! Since that time I've tried to contribute to the growth of Junior section, support the younger members and I even published a set of videos to help them navigate the course!
What do you want to achieve this year as Junior Captain?
On a personal level I'm keen to get my handicap back into positive figures and play in some of the national U18 events
For the club I'm keen to see a longer course measured out for the Women - all tees are measured for the men but only the shorter courses for Women. The rules are changing around maximum course length for Women and I know we could encourage more Elite girls and Women to our amazing course if we had it measured to the length we play at the national level.
For the Juniors I want to encourage a greater sense of community and inclusivity, promote even better communication with a new newsletter and get involved with one of the committees to have a better understanding of how the club works
So how's it going so far?
I had my 'official' photo taken and my Junior Captains Kit all arrived on the same day. Yesterday, we held the Junior AGM where I had to give a speech were I took over the reins from the outgoing Captain (I know some people don’t particularly enjoy this bit, but I love giving speeches!), and I carried out my first official duties by administering the draw for the Silver Jubilee Trophy, our Junior Matchplay Championship.
Today it was Captains Drive In - Bob, Sharon and myself representing the Mens, Women’s and Junior sections, surrounded by the full club membership on the first tee. No pressure then! Deep breaths - nice & calm… Nice steady swing - no need to be a hero… BOOM - straight down the middle of the fairway - I'll take that!
After the drive in we took part in the Captain's stableford competition - a great way to start the season off and a fun format - best 2 from 4, so I picked a crack team of Juniors to give the other Captains and adult teams a run for their money.
The day rounded off with Captains Dinner and dance, but no all night parties for me - tomorrow I'm off to Delamere Forest for a 36 hole competition. It was a full on day but great fun. I'm really looking forward to my year and will be reporting back here in a few weeks on how I'm getting on!
Oh - and that Captains Stableford competition - we won that with a resounding 93 points. My team selection box ticked! I guess that ticks the box on my Team selection skills and hopefully a sign of things to come.