FREYA JOHNSON has been swinging a golf club for almost as long as she has been able to walk.
“That’s my fault,” admits dad Paul, himself a more than handy scratch player and member of Royal Liverpool who started out at nearby Caldy.
“It is no embellishment to say that as soon as she could walk she had a plastic club in her hand!”
Despite that early start and plenty of family encouragement, the Johnsons have been happy for their daughter – one of three – to progress at her own pace.
But after a season which saw her handicap fall from 22 to 12, Freya successfully navigated England Golf trials for a place in one of their select training squads – one of only 96 girls from around the country to make the grade.
Now she is reaping the benefits of an intensive programme of winter coaching as part of the north west Birdies squad year one.
But despite being pleased with Freya’s progress, the family are wary of expecting too much, too soon from the West Kirby Grammar School pupil, who celebrated her 13th birthday this month.
“Freya has shown she has good hand-eye co-ordination but we have tried not to push her,” adds dad Andy. “She is at the sort of age where she can make her own decisions about how much effort she wants to put in, whether she wants to go to the driving range to practice, but the England Golf coaching is really helping give her a focus and she really enjoys her golf.”
Freya herself says: “Golf is good fun and very challenging. I like the feeling when you hit good shots.
“It is a good game for girls to play because, with the right instruction and determination, girls can beat the boys!”
She is one of hundreds of local players to have been coached by Alan Thompson, starting out with the Heswall coach when she was just six.
“England Golf make sure there is plenty of dialogue with Freya’s existing coach and that is important to make sure she does not get conflicting advice,” adds Andy. “She gets plenty of feedback from the coaching team, including the mental and physical side of the game.
“She is working on ironing out a technical improvement to her swing and then we will be working on her short game before the season really gets under way.”