A BOROUGH golfer is hoping an offered scholarship in America can propel him amongst the world’s elite when he jets off to Illinois this summer.
James Scagell, captain of the junior side at Ladbrook Park Golf Club, has played golf since the age seven after being diagnosed with a mild form of haemophilia – preventing him from taking part in any contact sports.
The 18-year-old Solihull School pupil is vulnerable to internal bleeding meaning he must limit his sporting exertions to non-contact sports.
However James views his diagnosis as a blessing in disguise as he’ll now join some of the world’s most promising golfers while studying at The University of Illinois in Springfield.
James will combine his golfing talent with brains during the scholarship – something he can’t wait to get stuck into.
He said: “My Dad plays golf and that’s ultimately how I got interested in the sport.
“I like the fact that in golf the pressure is all on me and it’s not necessarily down to a group of guys – when there’s success it’s great but you have to see out some tough times too.
“Every shot counts and the sport is never the same which appeals to me – it’s nice to give my Dad a good run for his money too.
“I’m obviously biased but Ladbrook is a great course and I particularly enjoy the challenges it presents.”
One of James’ roles as club captain at Ladbrook Park Golf Club was to raise as much money possible for a chosen charity.
Naturally, James decided to raise funds for Birmingham Children’s Hospital – a charity which helped James with his treatment for haemophilia.
He added: “I suffer from mild haemophilia, it’s not as bad as some people though it’s bad enough to prevent me from participating in contact sports as I have a greater risk of internal bleeding.
“However my diagnosis hasn’t limited me and I wanted to give something back to the charity that helped me out when I required.
“It’s tradition for the junior captain to raise funds for whatever cause they choose, Birmingham Children’s Hospital means a lot to me so it was the right way to go down.”
Speaking about his trip to America, James said: “I can’t wait, it will be a fantastic opportunity and not many people get to live out in America so I’m just going to see where it takes me.
“I would love to turn professional one day but the standard is so high right now it’s just a dream.
“Saying that I can practice a lot and simply try to improve my handicap – all sports over in America are massive so I’m grabbing the opportunity with both hands.
“I’ve thought about the opportunity to go abroad since I was 13, it’s come around so fast it only feels like yesterday I was approached by an agency.”
Proud father Jason added: “I’m very proud of James and I’m so pleased he’s got this opportunity – I know his future lies with golf whether it be as a professional or a coach.
“He managed to complete five rounds of golf on the shortest day last year – an incredible achievement given it’s common for people to complete four rounds on the longest day.
“That achievement sums up how motivated he is and the passion he has for golf.”