It may be a long way to Hartpury from Dumfries but talented young golf international Alex Chalk knows that honing his skills in the college’s elite environment has the potential to help propel him to the summit.
Scot Alex has wasted little time making his mark since starting at Hartpury in September. The 17-year-old is currently the Order of Merit leader in the Intercollegiate Tour regional qualifiers and sits in fourth position in the British Schools and Colleges Tour qualifying, leaving him perfectly poised to challenge for honours in both events.
Alex, who has a scratch handicap, is the college’s first Scotland international, having represented Scotland Schools against England – potentially the first steps in his fledgling international career.
He said: “I heard about Hartpury from a friend who started a course here, and once I visited, I knew I wanted to come. Not even the six hour journey put me off!
“At the beginning, I was struggling for form and not playing as well as I can but I knuckled down and practised hard and now I’m starting to reap the rewards.”
The youngster is keen to follow in the footsteps of former Hartpury student Ryan Pope, who is currently on a four-year golfing scholarship for American NCAA Division One University South Alabama - one of the best programmes in the country.
Alex said: “I’m looking at getting a place at an American university once I finish my studies at Hartpury in 2016 and it would be great to do something similar to what Ryan has done.
“The ultimate aim is to become a tour professional, so following up two years at Hartpury with a chance to play in America would be a great move for me.”
As a student on the golf programme, Alex benefits from regular practice sessions as well as learning about various aspects of the sport industry – including sport psychology and coaching.
Alex said: “The course is great and having almost daily practice sessions is really useful. All the teachers on the course have been really good and I’ve received a lot of help from John Jacobs (England Boys coach), which has really helped improve my overall game.
“I’ve settled in well and all of us on the programme are playing some great golf. We are all very competitive and help to push each other so it’s a great place to be at.”
The young Scot will also be attending the warm weather training camp at the Desert Springs resort in Spain in February, providing a further opportunity to hone his skills.
“The training will be a unique experience,” he added. “Hopefully, all of this practise will help me maintain my form throughout the season so I can secure high finishes in both tours.”
From April, Alex will travel back to Scotland and compete in regular events as a part of the Scotland Order of Merit in the hope of qualifying for the Home Internationals squad, which comprises the best players from the United Kingdom.
Richard King, who manager Hartpury’s golf programme, said: “Alex has already made tremendous progress in the short time he’s been here. With continued hard work and determination, he could have a fantastic year.”