- Hubert Nieto, a San Bartolo Golf Project graduate, played in winning Peru team at South American Junior Championship
- San Bartolo is Peru’s first public golf course and facility was funded by The R&A
- San Bartolo junior golf programme makes golf more available and affordable for youngsters in Lima
The organisers of the San Bartolo Golf Project in Peru had good reason for celebration when Hubert Nieto, a student of the project’s junior golf programme, featured in the successful Peruvian boys team which won the South American Junior Championship staged in Porto Alegre, Brazil two weeks ago.
Nieto and his team-mates Julian Perico and Santiago Zubiate finished seven strokes ahead of runners-up Colombia to win the championship for the first time since 1984. Hosts Brazil and Ecuador finished two shots further back to tie for third.
Perico won the individual event by four strokes on a three-under-par total of 285 while Nieto carded five birdies in a round of 71 (-1) on the final day of the championship to finish tied-16th alongside Zubiate in the individual standings.
Nieto is a product of San Bartolo’s junior golf programme and his achievements at international level is but one of several ringing endorsements for the facility and its junior golf programme.
San Bartolo is Peru’s first ever public golf course and is based one hour south of Lima. The R&A invested £200,000 in supporting the development of the facility, including the conversion of a nine-hole sand course to grass which was designed by Mexican architect Agustin Piza and will be ready to play early next year.
Its junior golf programme was launched five years ago as part of the Peruvian Golf Federation’s ‘Golf For All’ development initiative and the venue has progressed to become an important base where young and emerging golfers can learn the game and develop their skills.
Several players like Nieto have advanced from the programme to being invited by the Federation to compete in the country’s junior tournaments and participate in continental events, including the South American Amateur Championships, thanks to the coaching and guidance provided by the facility.
Nieto was selected for the team to play in Brazil based on his junior ranking. His commitment to preparations for the championship, including leaving his house at 5.00am to travel over an hour across Lima to the facility for coaching, reflects a desire among the golfers at San Bartolo to advance to playing at a high level.
The junior golf programme also addresses important social issues in local communities and aims to make golf widely available and more accessible in a country where opportunities to play golf are limited, especially for those living in areas of deprivation.
Youngsters attending San Bartolo receive free lessons from coaches working with the project and are encouraged to adopt the game’s strong values including fair play, respect and positive behaviour.
An incentive programme for families was also created requiring that children attend at least 85% of scheduled classes to be able to receive a monthly groceries basket.Since the inception of the programme more than 500 juniors have participated and currently there is an average of over 60 youngsters attending coaching sessions.