John Stoodley moved to the Sevenoaks area following many years as a British Diplomate abroad and in 1965 he joined Knole Park Golf Club. He was an accomplished golfer and became a prominent and well respected member.
He particular enjoyed encouraging junior members of the club and became their junior organiser for many years. Following his death the ‘Stoodley’ family wished his memory to live on and very kindly donated a sum of money for the benefit of Junior golfers at Knole Park.
A charitable trust was established with that donation in 1997, its objective being ‘To advance the education of boys and girls in full time education in the County of Kent by the provision of facilities for, and coaching in, the game of golf so as to promote and encourage the physical development of such children’.
Since it was established the Trust has provided coaching to many children from a number of different schools in the Sevenoaks area and has plans to continue this into the future.
The Trust is currently paying for coaching for pupils from two local secondary schools – Trinity and Knole Academy.
It seems to have been a big success with the pupils really enjoying their golf, in large part due to the enthusiasm of our PGA professional, Callum Haughey.
Russell Turner. Assistant Principal at Knole Academy said: “Via the John Stoodley Trust and the support of Knole Park Golf Club, budding young players continue to enjoy learning the basics of golf – chipping, putting, pitching, driving and iron-play are just some of the skills that they are trying to develop.
“Under the watchful eye of professionals such as Callum Haughey, who actually enjoyed this experience himself as a student at the Wildernesse school, golf etiquette is at the core of their learning.
“Knole Park’s generous offer of reduced fees for the summer give students the opportunity to hone their developing skills in a competitive, safe environment. As a teacher and parent in the district, I cannot imagine a better way to spend the summer vacation”.
Last term Knole Academy entered two experienced teams into the Kent Team Championships hosted by Tenterden Golf Club. Both teams played well on a course, where the pins were set in very challenging positions. With only a single group left on the course, both of their teams led in the clubhouse.
As they eagerly waited for the scores to be entered, they found out that one of the boys in the final group had shot 48 stableford points, 12-under his handicap. On a day where the next best score was only a few under, it is fair to say that the boys felt a little hard done by having to settle for second position although it has given everyone the fire to get ever better.
Knole Park Junior Open
The Knole Park Junior Open is the largest day in the calendar, with a field of 54 players from 20 different clubs, including eight from Stockholm Golf Club.
This year’s event saw some fantastic scoring, with two players shooting 68 (2 under par gross), including the Junior Captain, Ollie Sly.
Six girls also participated with Millie Thompson from Sittingbourne & Milton Regis Golf Club winning the prize for best Girl’s score and Annabel Dalton from Knole Park winning the Girl’s Longest Drive.
The lowest nett was won by Knole’s own Joe Sussmes with a great score of 62 which also saw his handicap cut from 20 to 17. There was also a fantastic prize table with over £800 of prizes to play for on the day.
Sam King Trophy Tour
Knole Park Juniors play each year in a competition against a team from Stockholm Golf Club This is called the Sam King Trophy and has been going since 1995 with the venue alternating each year between Sevenoaks and Stockholm.
This year was the turn of Knole Park Golf Club and they put out all the stops to entertain their guests with matches at a number of local courses, including The Open venue, Royal St George’s in Sandwich.
The trophy is played in the same format as the Ryder Cup, with foursomes matches in the morning followed by eight singles games in the afternoon.
Fortunately for the Sevenoaks contingent, they were able to win an extremely tight match 7-5.
If you would like to know more about junior golf at Knole Park then you can contact them via their website at www.knoleparkgolfclub.co.uk.