Rockport Tees off First School Golf Academy in Ireland

by • June 1, 2016 • SalonsComments (0)2170

Following the huge success of Rory McIlroy’s triumph at the Dubai Duty Free Irish Open, Rockport School in Craigavad, Holywood, has just launched Northern Ireland and Ireland’s first and only school-based golf academy, which will be ready for the September 2016 intake.

The high performance sports programme – the ‘Rockport Golf Academy’ – is searching for golfing talent from Northern Ireland and further afield in a bid to help hone the talents of a generation of future Rory McIlroys and Graeme McDowells.

With scholarships, bursaries and ‘paid for’ places available, Rockport is working with its local golf clubs to create a school-based Golf Academy that’s of the highest calibre and taps into Northern Ireland and Ireland’s world-renowned reputation for producing top class golfers.

Headmaster of Rockport, George Vance, comments: “With a number of outstanding golf courses on our doorstep, creating Ireland’s first school-based golf academy is a huge part of our vision for the school’s future.

 “At Rockport, our aim is to create rounded-individuals who excel in their chosen areas and with interest in golf at an all-time high, both here and abroad, we have teamed up with Bangor, Blackwood and Holywood golf clubs to offer second-to-none opportunities and tuition for our golfing students.”

In addition to working with the Professionals at each of the clubs, a partnership has been created with the neighbouring Royal Belfast Golf Club, which is where Rockport students will play their ‘home’ fixtures.

Mr Vance continues: “Rockport attracts a strong mix of both international and local students, and by combining students’ potential on the academic front, with structured opportunities outside of the classroom, our Golf Academy will enable Rockport pupils to establish golf as part of their future.”

The Rockport Golf Academy programme will extend beyond practice and competitions. It will include class study, with modules on course management, green keeping, caddying, golf etiquette, rules and physical health and fitness.  In addition, a link has been established with the Ulster University where the elite players will benefit from fitness, biomechanics and dietary education.

Stephen Crooks, PGA Professional at Holywood Golf Club and one of Northern Ireland’s Under 18 coaches, has designed and will manage the Rockport’s Development Squad at Holywood Golf Club.

Stephen adds: “We’ve seen first-hand how developing potential golf talent at a young age can pay dividends to how far players can progress in the future.

“Rockport’s Golf Academy is a welcome addition to the development of future sporting greats as the combination of a flexible approach to academic study which enables the ability to play tournaments is very unique. We’re looking forward to meeting some of the sporting stars of the future at September’s intake.”

Beginners will commence the Rockport Golf Academy at Blackwood Golf Centre, under the supervision of Club PGA Professional, Debbie Hanna. Following the stewardship of Stephen Crooks at Holywood, the Development Squad will progress to Elite status, under the tuition of Stephen Gordon, PGA Professional at Bangor Golf Club.

Rockport School is offering bursary and scholarship support for pupils at GCSE and A-Level. Applicants will be chosen on the basis of golf ability and potential, as well as academic standard.

Rockport is an independent day and boarding school with approximately 200 students, aged 3-18.  It’s synonymous for its academic and sporting achievements, and its successful and varied alumni is a testament to the school’s belief that within every pupil is the potential for excellence.

For further information on the Rockport Golf Academy please contact Rockport School on +44 (0)28 9042 8372 or email:

MAIN PIC: Rockport pupils, Jessica Kelly (12) and Stephen McCalmont (15) with Stephen Crooks, PGA Professional at Holywood Golf Club; George Vance, Headmaster, Rockport School and Debbie Hanna, PGA Professional at Blackwood Golf Club



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