ONE of Matfen Hall’s professional golf coaches has scooped a national award.

PGA Professional coach JJ Vallely was named Squad Coach of the Year at the England Golf Awards 2018.

The 41-year-old, who has been at Matfen Hall clubhouse since 1995, received the award at a gala dinner following the England Golf annual coaching conference at Woodhall Spa Golf Club in Lincolnshire.

JJ’s work with the club’s junior academy and the England Golf North Region girl’s squad over the past five years were the driving forces behind his success.

JJ also ensures a pipeline of talent by coaching girls in the North of England Futures programme, made up of players who are pushing for places in the regional line-up.

He said: “I absolutely love it. I live and breathe it.

“You do make a lot of sacrifices, but it’s really satisfying to help them understand their game and themselves.

“Some of the skills and habits they develop are wider reaching than golf, and will stand them in good stead whatever they do.”

Cumbria’s Caitlin Whitehead, who won the European Young Masters and then helped Europe to a clean sweep in the Asia Pacific Junior Championship, was cited as a shining examples of JJ’s work with young golfers along with Northumberland’s Jess Baker and Rosie Belsham, who have both played their way convincingly onto the national scene.

This summer, JJ also led an unprecedented five juniors from Matfen to the prestigious Wee Wonders finals on the Strathyrum course at St Andrews.

“They’re on a mission,” JJ continued: “They’ve been pulled along by watching Caitlin, Rosie, and Jess.

“They’re inspired and it’s given them belief and made them work harder.

“It’s like a mini-explosion and we want to keep it going.”

JJ’s award has been met with delight from Matfen Hall.

Nicola Hawes, golf manager at Matfen Hall, said: “We’re absolutely delighted that JJ’s work and achievements have been recognised in this way.

“His commitment to coaching the junior academy and so many other young players at Matfen is admired far and wide, and it’s not hard to see why when you see the results he inspires.”

Bernard Bloodworth, general manager at the hall, added: “This is such a well deserved award and we’re all delighted for JJ.

“We’re very proud to call him part of the family here at Matfen and look forward to his continued success.”