By Simon Shrouder
Could Southport’s ‘Golf Coast’ produce another Tommy Fleetwood? A new teenage golfing protégé from the area might just provide the answer…but she’s going to need some help!
Meet 14 year-old Gabriella Monks from Mere Brow in Tarleton, Lancashire.
She’s only been playing golf since she was 10, but now, the home-educated Gabriella, whose golfing roots are shared by one Mr T Fleetwood, has rewarded those supporting her by bringing her PGA handicap down from 54 to 13.6 in just 18 months and qualifying for the Sky Sports sponsored Junior European Open in Spain this month!
Mentored by local golf professional Brad Bridgwood from Southport Golf Academy, Gabriella is a member of Formby Ladies and Hesketh Golf Club – in addition to playing regularly on the driving range at Hurston Hall.
Parents, Dave and Alison Monks, have happily made sacrifices to help launch Gabriella’s golfing career – and have also set up a GoFundMe Page to make the trip to Spain possible. But, with many competitions ahead and a bright future forecast, the young sports star is likely to need further support in the months and years ahead.
Her dad, Dave, said: “A lot of Gabby’s success is down to Southport Golf Academy. They spotted her potential and she has rewarded them by showing real commitment to the game in the face of stiff competition.”
Gabriella has achieved significant success on the Northern Junior Golf Tour and was recently short listed for the final six to represent Lancashire with the Lancashire County Ladies Golf Association in the Junior Jamboree Team. She has now played in over 50 competitions on courses throughout the country.
In Sept 2023 she qualified for the Final of the Junior European Open which will take place from the 17th to 25th November 2023 at both the San Roque Golf Club and Golf La Canada in Cadiz, Spain. The event is in association with Sky Sports and the Champions Week Finals. Gabriella will play four rounds of competition golf over four days with the cut be made for the 5th and final day.
Gabriella said: “I’m really excited to be able to play in a competition like this in Spain and it’s nice for me to see how hard work and commitment can lead to being able to compete in events like this. I’m also really grateful for all the support that everyone has given me up to now.”
“It’s a massive moment for her,” said Dave, “she has worked hard to get this far and she deserves this chance after all she has put in. Without the support of Brad and Richard and James Carpenter at the Golf Academy, I don’t think we would be where we are now. What we need to do now though, is find the best way to support her as she moves forward.”
With a career in golf often costing tens of thousands of pounds, the hope is local benefactors might recognise Gabby’s potential, and give her the leg-up she needs to tee-off her career. “We’ve already had a fantastic response to the GoFundMe page,” said Dave, “any money over and above the target needed for the trip will be used for Gabby’s coaching and other related costs as we go forward.”