Students on the UK’s only
tournament-based golf foundation degree course split their time between St Mellion International Resort in Cornwall and Pestana Golf Resort in Portugal
A second year undergraduate on the Foundation Science Degree in
Tournament Golf, Ben Stow, has qualified for the second stage
of the European Tour School.
Having won or been runner-up in nine tournaments over the last two years, and gained a handicap of +4.2, Stow entered the European Tour Qualifying School, passed stage 1 and is currently into stage 2. If he succeeds in stages 2 and 3, Stow will have qualified for the European Tour itself.
Stow is one of a handful of golfers that are reaping the rewards of the unique two-centre, two-year sports degree course. Tournament Golf College is administered by the Duchy College, which operates under the umbrella of Plymouth University. It has been running since 2008, and 2011 is its most successful year yet.
Students are based at St Mellion International Resort from mid-September to December each year, before spending January to March at the Pestana Golf Resort in the Algarve, and returning to the UK for the spring and summer months.
Also benefitting from the course is second year student James Yeomans, who won the BMW Dubai Invitational by an astonishing 10 shots, and Joey Armstrong, who has now graduated, and who has been invited to compete on the Challenge tour.
St Mellion has been involved with the Tournament Golf College course from its inception three years ago. With its two challenging Championship courses for students to play on each week, great practice facilities and short game training areas, plus its state of the art
gym facilities, the resort is ideally placed to work with the students.
Darren Gass, Performance Coach at St Mellion has also been involved from the outset, and has recently decided to go full time on the Tournament Golf course, travelling to Portugal with the students, and becoming full time coach on the course.
Gass said: “The Foundation Science Degree in Tournament Golf is unique. It
was built to give talented European players a viable option to learn on home turf, rather than travelling to the US to study. All the academic teaching is based around tournament golf, rather than being a standard education course with a golf bolt-on, which is what you normally find in the UK.
“We have had some phenomenal results already, with Ben Stow being perhaps our most remarkable student so far. I am very proud of what we have achieved in such a short time.
“We are hoping that the course may be extended to a full three-year BA course in the next few years, so that promising golfers can come out with a nationally recognised qualification.”
Rob Spurrier, Group Academy Manager at Crown Golf, said: “St Mellion is delighted to be involved in the pioneering work that the Tournament Golf College is undertaking. With Darren’s help, the students have made meteoric progress in their two years on the course. Whether the course remains a two-year one, or extends to three in the future, it is clear that the Tournament Golf College is a great success!”