Leven: Young golfers going for Gold at world's oldest amateur event

For the first time ever, the world’s oldest amateur golf championship, which is staged in Leven, will be opened up to children.

By Ralph Mellon
Thursday, 28th July 2022, 1:56 pm
Lundin golfer James White, centre, won the main event last year
Lundin golfer James White, centre, won the main event last year

The Leven Gold Medal, which has helped launch the careers of several high-profile players on the world circuit, is being complemented on Sunday, August 7 by a Junior Gold Medal event.

Title sponsor of the main event, American Golf, hopes to encourage even more budding young golfers in and around Fife to take part.

The first to the fairway will tee off at the iconic Leven Links golf course at 3.30pm on the day – as soon as the 152-year-old, two-day historic competition comes to a close.

Kirkcaldy golfer Jessica Wood, aged 10

Renowned globally for its prestige and antiquity, the Leven Gold Medal gave a prominent boost to a handful of famous golfing figures, including Lee Westwood – who won in 1993 – Andrew Coltart and Per-Ulrik Johansson.

The organisers are hoping to discover even more young talent in the famous setting at Levenmouth.

American Golf took over as title sponsor in 2021 after long-term sponsor Standard Life stepped away.

The introduction of a junior competition to this year's tournament further strengthens American Golf’s commitment to making golf accessible to all and its rollout, earlier this year, of its junior academy programme in partnership with golf professional Justin Rose.

In its first five years, the Academy aims to bring 18,000 young people on to the Justin Rose junior programme, with more than 5000 free lessons for school children given away during the first 12 months.

One of the competitors in the inaugural Junior Gold Medal is 10-year old Jessica Wood, from Kirkcaldy, who has being playing golf since she was five years old.

She has won various competitions during this time, has an official handicap of 18 and has already amassed over 8.5k Instagram followers.

Aspiring golfers up to the age of 16, with a national handicap, are invited to compete for five top prizes in the 18-hole stroke play competition and there is no fee to enter.

All entrants will receive a branded Stromberg polo shirt and goody bag.

To enter, email [email protected]

Prizes include Leven Golf Society and Leven Thistle Golf Club memberships, American Golf vouchers to spend online or in store and automatic inclusion into the 2023 event.

Steven Laing, regional sales manager with American Golf, said: “We want to make golf as accessible as possible to all, including the golfers of the future.

"Leven Links is a fantastic course for juniors to have fun while experiencing the game and a stunning setting for friends and family to spectate.

"We’re excited to see children play in the first Junior Gold Medal competition.

"It’s fantastic they can now be part of what is the oldest amateur golfing competition in the world.”

Children are encouraged to bring as many friends and family members as they like to watch them compete and plenty of refreshments will be available.

The regular competition – originally inaugurated in 1870 – will take place on Saturday and Sunday, August 6-7.