Five-year-old Arthur Saunders is set to play in top San Diego junior event
One of Littlestone Golf Club’s youngest members is set to take on the world’s best players of his age after earning himself a place in the IMG Junior World Championship - and he is set to go there with a little help from Virgin Atlantic.
Arthur Saunders, aged five, qualified for the prestigious IMG Academy Junior World Championship in March but, with the trip set to cost his family around £4,500, his dad Ken was forced to look for a way to fund it.
Friends and members at the Littlestone club had just announced the staging of a golf day in order to raise the amount required to fund the trip when big-hearted airline giant Virgin Atlantic stepped in and generously offered Arthur and his dad free trans-Atlantic flights.
The talented youngster only began playing the game a couple of years ago when his dad took him along to his golf lessons, and he is continuing his golf tuition with Littlestone coach Charlie Wilson, who believes it’s the youngster’s passion for the game that really shines through.
“It’s not just Arthur’s natural talent that has led to his success but his absolute dedication,” said Wilson. “The only time we’ve seen him cry is when his mum comes to take him home!
“His etiquette and knowledge of golf is fantastic and we have never seen a youngster of his age with such maturity and such big commitment to the game. He really is quite an extraordinary kid.”
Dad Ken added: “It was evident from very early on that Arthur loved the game, so we signed him up with Charlie and he has never looked back.
“He wakes me up at 6am every Sunday so we don’t miss a moment to play golf or be at the club. He knows every distance from every tee box at the Championship Links course at Littlestone. He even has a life-size cut-out of French professional, Victor Dubuisson, in his bedroom. We have tried to introduce other sports but he won’t have it. He eats and sleeps golf.”
Arthur will compete in the boys’ six-and-under division in the San Diego event as he takes on the best players in his age group. A total of 1,200 participants from 56 countries are expected to play across all age groups.