Coach Sarah and pupil Leila take a tilt at top title

Sarah Bennett and Leila Scobie

A woman amateur golfer has proved a chip off the old block by earning a shot at a national PGA title with the coach who first introduced her to the game five years ago.

Leila Scobie (right) from Three Rivers Golf and Country Club in Essex won her club medal and with it the chance to partner PGA Fellow Professional Sarah Bennett (left) in the inaugural all-women WPGA Lombard Trophy regional qualifier at Camberley Heath, Surrey, on July 4.

The pair will be playing for a place in the grand final which is being staged at Portugal's Pestana Vila Sol Golf & Resort Hotel at Vilamoura later in the summer from September 22-23.

Scobie first experienced golf through Bennett's Golfing Girl initiative which has brought several hundred women into the sport over the past five years.

"It's a real achievement Leila has qualified to play with me in the WPGA Lombard Trophy because five years ago she had never picked up a club,” said Bennett, who is an England Golf squad coach.

“I've since watched her develop all the way from complete beginner to someone who absolutely loves golf.

"She started with a few lessons and it has just flowered from there. She has really bought into everything and progressed to runner up in the club championships and winning competitions and now this.

“After she found out she'd qualified I received a text saying it was a really scary prospect and I said she must have heard what it's like playing with me!

"She's already looked up the course on the website and is very excited. It's just another step in her golfing adventure, another progression she's taken since first picking up a club.

"It's really special, and even more so because she is leaving Three Rivers to move to Scotland. She will be a big miss because she has been instrumental within the ladies section and a real motivating force."

Scobie is one of a small, but thriving ladies’ section at Three Rivers, and Bennett remains passionate about not only getting more into golf but ensuring they stay in the game.

"The key objective for me is retention. A very high percentage of my ladies who I have introduced to golf are still playing. That is the key driver for me. I don't just want to tick a box when it comes to introducing people to the game and saying I have introduced ‘X’ number.

“I would like the majority to still be playing five years later. I think that is how you have to measure success."

Bennett also had other good news having been selected by England Golf as lead coach to take the U16 boys and girls team to face Spain in Madrid at the end of May.

The former Ladies European Tour player will cover numerous event preparations including course mapping and course strategy with specific contingency plans.

"It's an area I am meticulous with because tournament preparation is absolutely key,” she said.

In the meantime she is also looking to picking up her own clubs again after a hand-injury sidelined her for a couple of years.

"I'm looking forward to getting my teeth into playing again. You spend so much time helping other people learn to play you tend to forget what an amazing game it is to play."