Chris Wood goes back to his roots

Chris Wood Jack Cope Matthew Bell

Ryder Cup player Chris Wood went back to his roots over the Christmas break to share his skills and experience with the Gloucestershire U18 boys’ squad.

The teenagers included Jack Cope of Minchinhampton, who is a member of the England Golf boys’ squad, and Gloucestershire U18 captain Matt Bell.

Wood, the reigning BMW PGA champion, was England’s top amateur for two years before embarking on his successful professional career. He comes from Long Ashton Golf Club in Gloucestershire and well remembers his county days.

He said: “The experience of the Gloucestershire Golf Union (GGU) provided a stepping stone for me to becoming a professional golfer. It wasn’t just the golfing experience that I relished, it was also the friendships I formed. In fact I’m still really good friends with some of the guys I played county golf with 10 years’ ago.

“It’s great to see the coaching programmes in which the GGU is investing to support our talented young players. I was in this position 10 years ago and I’m sure the goal of the GGU is to produce more and more European Tour players in the future.”

Wood was one of a number of current and past European Tour players who turned out at the squad get together at Burnham & Berrow Golf Club in Somerset.

Among them was former Tour player Stuart Little who said: “In 2003, I was playing in the same winter get together with Chris Wood when he was in the GGU U18 squad. It’s great to see how well he’s done and some-one of his stature magnanimously giving back to his grass roots is inspirational. It’s also a great opportunity for our junior squad to see how good you need to be to make it in golf.”

Gary Ward, U18 squad manager added: “The Christmas get-together underpins the ethos of the GGU where we bring together the sum of the past and the present to create an environment of learning for the future.”