Hartpury College students spent five days in sunny Spain fine-tuning their golfing skills at a warm weather training camp recently, and they are already reaping the rewards.
Twenty-seven students went abroad to the Desert Springs resort in Almeria to hone their technique by gaining experience of different playing environments and learning how to adapt their game to their surroundings.
And their Spanish excursion has already began to pay off as the College returned to British soil and cruised to victory in the latest round of the Intercollegiate Tour (ICT), securing a 16 shot triumph at Northants County Golf Club to further cement their place at the top of the standings after three rounds.
For Richard King, Hartpury’s golf programme manager, their mid-season golfing fiesta was a perfect way to prepare his golfing prodigies for the second half of the year.
“We have been going to Desert Springs for three years now, and each time we have been it always does wonders for everybody’s game. Everyone plays more golf in a week there than they would do back in the UK over three weeks, and you can see it paying off with their performance last week,” King said.
During their stay, the students took full advantage of the facilities that the Desert Springs resort had to offer, which included use of the short game academy and being looked after by the resort’s executive chef, who catered to their individual dietary needs.
The Indiana golf course, designed by Peter McEvoy- who recently visited the college to talk to the students- provided the ideal setting for Hartpury’s golfers to sharpen and develop their golf game, with King organising daily competitions for the group to participate in.
He said: “The course was in immaculate condition and that really helps the development of our students. The golf being played was to a really high quality, even if it was a bit too windy at times!”
One of Hartpury’s rising stars, Alex Chalk, even managed to hit a hole-in-one during his time in Spain, and at last week’s ICT round the 17-year-old shot a level-par 70 to maintain his lead in the Order of Merit.
Fellow Hartpury golfers Joe Harvey and Tom Davies also finished with level-par rounds as the trio finished in a four-way tie for first place in the individual event. Harvey is currently in second place in the Order of Merit and remains hot on the heels of leader Chalk.
“Alex and Joe were with us in Spain, and it’s great to see them use the training camp as a springboard to help continue the success they’ve had so far this year”, King added.
“Jamie Thomas also made his debut for the first team after his performances at Desert Springs, so it just goes to show how beneficial the five days were.”
Hartpury’s golfers have three rounds left in the ICT regional stage, with the national finals being held over 54 holes at St Annes Old Links Golf Club, Lytham St Annes, on May 13th and 14th.
King said: “If the players continue the current form they have been showing then we have a great chance of competing for the title at the finals.”