National coaching award for ground-breaking pro Duncan

A SUFFOLK golf pro, who is rapidly earning the tag of Mr Golf in Suffolk, has won a national award for delivering a mind-boggling array of junior coaching projects.

A SUFFOLK golf pro, who is rapidly earning the tag of Mr Golf in Suffolk, has won a national award for delivering a mind-boggling array of junior coaching projects.

Duncan Burl received the Golf Foundation's prestigious Sinclair Award for a series of ground-breaking initiatives in around Stowmarket and Bury St Edmunds.

One of his most challenging tasks has been coaching unruly school pupils, but it is proving a success.

“It's one of the hardest things I've done because they've been singled out for this coaching due to their disruptive behaviour,” he said.


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“I feared at times, but we've got through to them and five of the 12 I initially coached are now playing regularly.

“The aim is that if they get through the school week without getting into trouble they get to come for a lesson on the following Monday.

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“I wouldn't go as far to say it's changed their life around but it's given them another activity to get into.”

The 33-year-old head professional from Stowmarket Golf Club picked up his accolade at the BMW PGA Championship where he was recognised along with a number of other PGA professionals.

Burl's hectic programme sees him run six week coaching courses in 25 primary schools, Tri-Golf sessions, Junior Golf Passport sessions and golf festivals with two planned for 200 and 135 kids respectively.

And such has been the impact of the various projects that he's now gone from employing one assistant pro to three.

“It's been hugely rewarding not just for me but for all the kids who have experienced golf,” he said.

“Financially it's not lucrative but it was never about money, just the opportunity to get kids trying such a great sport which teaches so many life and social skills.

“As soon as I saw the potential I took on more schools and have been going ever since.”

Burl credits Brendon Pyle, development manager for the Golf Foundation, for getting him involved him 'he kept pestering me for ages' and also Claire Ferguson from the local School Sports Partnership who has helped create a thriving junior coaching dynasty.

He's been pro at Stowmarket for 10 years but it's been the development of Stowmarket Golf Centre across the road that houses two nine-hole courses and a practice area that has enabled the junior programmes to flourish.

“These facilities have helped us to set up the programmes and every Saturday we coach around 100 children,” said Burl.

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