YOUNG golfers in Nottinghamshire can tee up this summer like the pros – with a new tour all of their own.

The 2014 Rookie Tour will be launched across the county to continue the drive to encourage more youngsters into the sport and give them a platform to develop their skills.

A team from the Nottinghamshire Golf Union, the county Ladies Association, the Notts PGA and the Nottinghamshire County Golf Partnership have been working hard to improve the competitive offering for juniors.

Now they have come together – under the banner of Nottinghamshire Golf – to deliver a programme of events that will reach every level of young golfers.

The Rookie Tour will complement the long-standing and successful Nippers Tour, which caters for juniors under the age of 12 on January 1, 2014, while the new season will also see the launch of a Junior Order of Merit for Nottinghamshire.

The number of events for the players, who do not need a golf handicap, on the Nippers Tour has been extended to seven and entry is just £15 for the nine-hole competitions.

The 2014 season will see the introduction of the Rookie Tour aimed at juniors aged 12-17 who do not have a handicap or have a CONGU handicap above 28 (boys) or 36 (girls). Three nine-hole competitions will be staged.

The Junior Order of Merit will be based on six junior open events and is open to under-18s with an official CONGU handicap.

Players will count their three best finishes from the six events with four categories – boys gross, boys nett, girls gross and girls nett.

Lauren Spray, Get into Golf Officer for the Nottinghamshire County Golf Partnership, explains the thinking behind the new Order of Merit: "We want to provide a platform for young golfers to develop their competitive skills across a variety of courses by encouraging them to support junior open events. "This will also give us the opportunity identify talented golfers and measure performance."

Further details of the revamped junior structure for Nottinghamshire can be found at www.nottinghamshiregolfpartnership.co.uk

Nipper Tour dates
Wednesday, April 16 at Edwalton Golf Centre
Thursday, May 29 at Kilton Forest
Thursday, July 24 at Southwell
Wednesday, July 30 at Nottingham City
Thursday, August 7 at Rufford Park
Thursday, August 14 at Norwood Park
Thursday, August 21 at Trent Lock
Rookie Tour dates
Friday, May 30 at Norwood Park Golf Centre
Friday, July 25 at The Nottinghamshire Golf & Country Club
Wednesday, August 20 at Stanton on the Wolds Golf Club
Junior Order of Merit Events
Friday, May 30 at Norwood Park
Sunday, June 22 at Mapperley
Friday, July 25 at The Nottinghamshire
Sunday, August 10 at Beeston Fields
Thursday, August 14 at Coxmoor
Wednesday, August 20 at Stanton on the Wolds

On Saturday 1st March, the 4th Pub Walk for Parkinson's will take place. Participants will meet at the Full Moon at Morton at 10.30am for coffee and bacon butties.

Calling all green-fingered volunteers with a passion for parterres! Find out more about a vision for the garden at the Archbishop of York's Palace Restoration Project in Southwell at a public open day on Saturday 1st March, 10am to 4pm.

Parliament has provided the opportunity for local communities to help to shape their neighbourhood over the next 12 years and beyond. Southwell is one of the first to engage in this Neighbourhood plan process.

Whilst in our case the Newark and Sherwood District Council will remain the Planning Authority, the Neighbourhood Plan, if accepted by Southwell residents in a referendum expected to be held next year, will have a very significant impact upon the type, design and density of the extra housing which the District Council requires before 2026.

The Neighbourhood Plan is, however, about much more than just housing because it will also cover such important matters as, for example, keeping the town centre retail trade vibrant, preserving the town's rich heritage, protecting its attractive rural setting, flood alleviation, providing educational, health and leisure facilities and ensuring that people can travel around by public and private transport.

Whilst the Town Council has set up the process for preparing the Neighbourhood Plan it will not be its author. That is the task of a group of local residents, most of whom are not councillors, and they need your help in identifying the issues which you feel are the key issues facing the town and its future.

If the Plan is to be credible and effective it must represent the views of local residents and not the preconceived ideas of any local authority or politician. That is why we hope that you will respond by the end of February to the questionnaire. Every house in Southwell should have received one, alternatively you can fill the form in online at: www.southwellplan.org.uk/your-view

Brendan Haigh, Deputy Convenor

This year's award-winning Southwell Folk Festival (5th - 8th June) promises to be more internationally-eclectic than ever before, attracting great acts from Canada, Ireland, Scotland, the USA and Estonia alongside established British talent such as Bella Hardy, Feast of Fiddles, the Poozies and young stars Greg Russell & Ciaran Algar.