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Saturday, November 26, 2022
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Shropshire teenage golf prodigy tipped for the top

Shrewsbury Golf Club members swung into action to chip in for a new golf trolley for a teenage golf prodigy who is taking the golfing world by storm.

Isla tees off for a practice session at the first hole at the Condover club
Isla tees off for a practice session at the first hole at the Condover club

Isla McDonald-O’Brien, 16, from Nesscliffe, is in the England u18s, and carding good scores against some of the best adult amateur players in tournaments in the UK and Europe. 

Shrewsbury Golf Club pro John Richards says Isla, with a 3.8+ handicap, has “outstanding natural talent” and the golfing mental ability to become a great player. She can also out drive most male golf club members.

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“I’ve never seen such a good female player at her age. She has all the skill and capabilities to make it in world golf. She won the Shrewsbury ladies club championship at 12 years of age and has gone on to achieve in national events and represent Great Britain and Ireland,” says John.

Parents Andy and Alison chose Shrewsbury Golf Club’s course at Condover as the perfect training ground for Isla and her brother Rory, also an England player, where the fast and true greens are similar to some of the best tournament courses.

The club’s three golf captains representing all 500 plus members backed the senior men’s idea to buy Isla a trolley to help her as she progresses in tournaments against some of the top players in her age group. 

Women’s captain Mary Saull said: “We are very proud of what Isla has achieved so far and are delighted to be able to help her. Not only is she an exceptional golfer but she is also a lovely girl. We will be watching how her golfing career develops with great interest.”

Isla’s growing golf cv includes coming 2nd in the R & A Girls competition at Enville, 2nd in the Peter McEvoy Trophy, 3rd in the English Girls’ under 16 open at Formby and 5th in the Helen Holm Scottish Women’s Competition at Troon beating many top women amateurs. She also came 5th in the Justin Rose competition in Portugal.

Isla, who picked up her first golf club as a 5-year-old, has just visited the US where she was invited to three universities in Arizona, Ohio and Texas, which produce some of the world’s best future golfing talent.

Golf pro John Richards contacted Isla’s family to tell them that the club wanted to support Isla as she progresses.

Dad Andy, a former Kent county cricketer and a very respectable golfer with a 3 handicap, said: John phoned me to say that the senior section had some spare money left and they wanted to reward Isla with a trolley as she represents Shrewsbury Golf Club wherever she goes.

“They thought it would be a nice gesture and it certainly is.”

A pupil at Moreton Hall School where she is studying A levels in history, geography and PE after taking GCSEs a year early, Isla will take her new trolley with her as she travels with England Golf for warm winter training in Portugal in February preparing for more tournaments in 2023.

She also hopes to follow in elder brother Rory’s footsteps as the England golfer settles into his university in south Carolina where he won a golfing scholarship to progress in the world of top class golf.

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