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Amy's stellar year

When 17-year-old Amy Staveley romped to the England Champion of Champions title at Woodhall Spa by a staggering 9-strokes, it was just the latest in a season of superlatives. So just imagine what might have been if she’d been quicker to upgrade the clubs she’d been swinging since the age of 12! The Scarborough 6th Form student turns 18 on October 21st and the same day will be jetting off to visit University of Charleston, South Carolina, where she was offered a scholarship after qualifying for the R&A Junior Amateur at Ganton and Fulford, and qualifying for the final stages. The achievements this year have come thick and fast – the College North of England (mixed) Order of Merit; Yorkshire Ladies winning County Match Week team; Yorkshire Junior Champion; East Riding Junior (mixed) Champion; Best gross in the Fulford Junior Open; a key part of the Ganton Women’s team which finished second in the nationals, including shooting a St Ives course record, before Ganton won the Yorkshire Women’s Team Championship, with Amy winning both her games including against Malton & Norton member and multi-champion Emma Brown – where Amy is also a member. “Well it’s taken me long enough!” she laughed. So what does she put her astonishing year down to? Let’s talk about those old clubs...

“I got some new clubs,” Amy explained. “I was struggling a bit at the start of the year because I knew I needed to change them. And Callaway have helped me a lot. So I got those and that’s one thing – and people will say that they don’t make a difference, and I didn’t think they did, but they do!” Her old driver, a Callaway Rogue, dated back to when she was about 12. “I absolutely loved it, I refused to get rid of it. In my first ever 36-hole Yorkshire Ladies competition, a nett comp, dad said ‘if you win it I’ll get you a driver’. “And he said ‘you’ve got no chance’. I said ‘okay, deal’ ... and I won! And he’s never bet me anything again!

“The shaft in it [the old driver] was completely wrong and it had never been changed. So I was using a Senior flex shaft! Lysa Jones [Yorkshire Ladies coach] said ‘what are you doing with this?’ so anyway, I got a new driver and then my new irons. “But also just mentally this year I have been a lot better. I’ve been working with Greg Robertson from Underpin Sports, and he’s just helped me a lot. I’ve not made as many double bogeys, card-wreckers, I’ve been more con- sistent getting it round.” Amy started playing golf aged four at Snainton Golf Centre, but she was also a keen runner, tennis player and cricketer too. She joined Scarborough South Cliff aged nine, got her first handicap of 54, then moved to Ganton aged 12. She went to high school at Norton College, hence joining Malton & Norton along with younger brother Ben. “I actually remember getting down to scratch, about two years ago. I was playing in a little qualifier with the ladies and my handicap came down to scratch. I have a photo from that day on my phone somewhere.” As we chatted her handicap stood at +3.5. Of her Champion of Champions win she described how a five hour round on a red hot day left her thinking she was out of it, having shot a 78. Mum Paula was caddying. Amy said: “Mum doesn’t know much about golf but it’s just really good when she’s caddying for me ... when we went in the clubhouse I saw I was just two shots behind the leader, so I said to mum, ‘Right, I’m just going to go out there and commit to my clubs’ and she said the same, ‘just commit to everything, don’t doubt yourself’. “And I thought ‘I can do this, come on, you’re not far behind, and I just made the right decision and committed to my clubs and somehow managed to get it round in four-under, and I was a bit shocked. “I thought, I need to hit it close because putts aren’t going to drop, so I got them to six foot ... because the greens were so fast ... I just had to hit it close.” On her other highlights, she said: “Obviously the Yorkshire Junior Championship because it was my last year and Karen Fellowes [the girls’ junior organiser] has been there since I started and it’s her last year as well. “So it was a really special moment to win it in my last year ... and obviously that then got me to the Champions of Champions. Those are my two highlights. “Oh and obviously County finals and County match week because I love playing in a team ... So they’re probably my two – well four, highlights of the year!” Of next year’s move to NCAA Division 1 [top-50] Charleston she added: “I’m going over on my birthday to visit – a nice way to spend my 18th. I just loved everything [about their proposal], the coach was amazing, I’m really excited to meet him properly, and the assistant coach as well. I just absolutely loved it, the place looks amazing – and the weather!” And golf as a career? “Yes, obviously it’s difficult, but if I had the chance to, I’d definitely take it!”

STOP PRESS Just before we went to print, Amy became the first girl to win the ERUGC Mixed Junior Matchplay at Hull GC, beating Cottingham Parks pair Alfie Slater 3&2 in the semi-final and Warren Burns 2&1 in the final.


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