El Chaparral host for second year Euro Tour Player’s Schools Darren Clarke & Lee Westwood

El Chaparral was very proud to host in January the second of two annual visits from golf schools organized by two of the leading lights on the European Tour: England’s Lee Westwood and Northern Ireland’s Darren Clarke. Westwood’s school is based in the UK and is aimed at 14-16 year olds whilst the The Darren Clarke Golf School, located in Northern Ireland, caters mainly for promising golfers in the 16 to 19 age group; although there were a few exceptions such as a 28 year old currently on his gap year as well as three girls. Various nationalities were also represented aside from the expected Irish: these included Dutch, Belgium, Scottish, German and even a pupil who originated from Mauritius. A common denominator however, was the fine playing level of these youngsters striving to forge a career in golf; many of whom had already attained a scratch handicap or better.
They are currently studying for an extended BTEC Certificate in Sport which takes two years and encompasses subjects such as psychology, coaching and health aside from plenty of quality on the golf course. These three-day trips including a minimum of two rounds provided the four coaches and two full-time staff with an intensive environment whereby they could put the classroom theory into practice. Staying at the Doña Lola Resort in Calahonda a typical day consisted of: 07:30 – Wake-up call and breakfast in resort; 09:00 – Transfer to Chaparral and warm up; 10:30 – 18 holes playing from the white tees; 14:30-15:00 – Warm down, lunch followed by a couple of hours practice; Evening free time in resort. The pupil – teacher ratio was aided by the fact that the 37 pupils (50 in the case of Westwood’s) were split into two different morning and afternoon shifts.
Both pupils and staff were extremely complimentary about the warm welcome they had received from club employees and members and enjoyed trying the local cuisine on offer in the club house. Gavin Hamlyn, in charge of overall operations for the two schools, reserved special praise for the practice facilities on offer; especially the expansive putting and chipping green and two-tiered driving range. It goes without saying that some excellent scores were recorded on the golf course and plans are already afoot to repeat the trips next year.

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