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Rockport step up search for next Rory McIllroy

By Frank Brownlow

Published 01/06/2016

Green for go: Rockport pupils Stephen McCalmont (15) and Jessica Kelly (12), Debbie Hanna, PGA Professional at Blackwood Golf Club, and Stephen Crooks, PGA Professional at Holywood Golf Club, launch the new academy
Green for go: Rockport pupils Stephen McCalmont (15) and Jessica Kelly (12), Debbie Hanna, PGA Professional at Blackwood Golf Club, and Stephen Crooks, PGA Professional at Holywood Golf Club, launch the new academy

Following on from Rory McIlroy's triumph at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open at the K Club, Rockport School in Craigavad, Holywood, has launched a school-based golf academy, which will be ready for the September 2016 intake.

The high performance sports programme - the Rockport Golf Academy - is searching for golfing talent from Northern Ireland and further afield in a bid to produce the next McIlroy, who hails from Holywood.

With scholarships and bursaries available, Rockport is working with local golf clubs to create a school-based academy of the highest calibre.

Headmaster of Rockport, George Vance, said: "With interest in golf at an all-time high, we have teamed up with Bangor, Blackwood and Holywood golf clubs to offer second-to-none opportunities and tuition."

In addition to working with the professionals at each of the clubs, a partnership has been created with the neighbouring Royal Belfast Golf Club, which is where Rockport students will play their home fixtures.

The Rockport Golf Academy programme will include class study, with modules on course management, green keeping, caddying, golf etiquette, rules and physical health and fitness.

In addition, a link has been established with the Ulster University where the elite players will benefit from fitness, biomechanics and dietary education.

Stephen Crooks, PGA Professional at Holywood Golf Club, will manage Rockport's Development Squad.

"The combination of a flexible approach to academic study which enables the ability to play tournaments is unique," said Crooks.

Belfast Telegraph

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