Graeme Storm hopes junior open can encourage Hartlepool golfing stars of the future to take up the game

Graeme Storm at Hartlepool Golf Club
Graeme Storm at Hartlepool Golf Club

Graeme Storm is hopeful that his annual junior open can ignite a fire in the region, and get more and more kids involved in the sport.

The youth golf tournament, which raises money for the Finlay Cooper Fund, tees off at Hartlepool Golf Club tomorrow.

The junior open is aimed at getting the best out of talent, and finding new players

And with the more entrants, as well as a higher quality of golfers taking part, this tournament, according to Storm, is set to be bigger and better than ever.

But he says there is still a bit of a stigma when it comes to golf. And he thinks fewer and fewer youngsters are picking up clubs, not just in his home town, but across the board.

He is hopeful that events like this, as well as raising valuable cash for charity, can inspire potential Graeme Storms of the future.

“It is a little bit daunting,” he said, when asked about kids potentially looking up to him as a role model.

“This is particularly when I have to speak because I’m not a great speaker in front of a lot of people, but it will be great just to see all of them, with their full golfing careers ahead of them.

“The sport still has got that old school tie feel to it, which is a little bit unfortunate because when you go to golf clubs now, it is changing.

“It is more for the working class and it is more for everyone to have a go at.

“The numbers have dropped over the past so many years for whatever reason.

“The junior open was just to get the best out of the talent that we have got and also find new talent. It’s something that I have always wanted to do.”

On the tournament itself, he continued: “I think there was quite a lot of kids coming into the game after last year which is good, and we also have new kids coming from further afield. We have the best girl in the UK coming to play, we have a kid coming that won the Wee Wonders British Championships who is only twelve or thirteen coming from Doncaster.

“So they are coming from further afield, but we hope to see some local talent coming through as well.”

In a personal sense Storm has had a month off from the game, but is set to return to action later this month at the Volvo China Open.

Pressure is not something he puts on himself.

“In a way, I just want to play every round and enjoy playing golf,” he said.

“I am always my biggest critic so I’m trying to get away from that.

“I am trying to just play golf, see what happens - you’re going to have bad rounds.”