Video: Meet Burnley's five-year-old golfing protege who looks set for future stardom on the fairway

Players may smile indulgently when they see pint sized Ritchie Riley on the golf course.

Wednesday, 31st March 2021, 3:45 pm

But they soon realise he is a force to be reckoned with when they see the five-year-old's swing.

For the tiny player from Burnley has a natural talent for the game, spotted when he was just three and first picked up a golf club.

Proud dad Kev said: "Ritchie has a real passion for golf, he absolutely loves it and has been playing now for a couple of years.

Golfing protege Ritchie Riley is taking the sport by storm with his talent at just five-years-old.

"It was my dad who noticed how good he was when Ritchie took a swing at the ball and hit it for 98 yards."

Ritchie started playing at the Prairie Sports Village driving range where the youngster's talent was quickly spotted and Kev, and Ritchie's mum, Rachel, were recommended to take him for lessons.

Kev, who sells card machines to merchants services, said: "We contacted Niall Ormerod, who is the golf professional at Nelson Golf Club, and he agreed to coach Ritchie."

The club has also recognised the protege's talent by allowing him to play on the full course, which he loves.

Ritchie has been given permission to play on the full course at Nelson Golf Club

A pupil at St John the Divine Primary School in Cliviger, Ritchie has two sisters, Millie (eight) and one-year-old Aria.

And as lockdown restrictions eased this week Burnley Leisure invited Ritchie to hit the first 'legal' ball at the Prairie Sports Village driving range on Monday.

Kev said: "It was amazing, he really enjoyed it as has missed his sport and also his pals during lockdown."

Ritchie, who is too young yet to have a handicap, loves nothing more than watching TV footage of his favourite players, including Tiger Woods and the late Seve Ballesteros. He even insisted the family name their new puppy, Seve, in honour of the Spanish player.

Ritchie gets in some golf practise watched by big sister Millie (eight)

A keen footballer also, Ritchie plays for Fulledge Colts but says he would like to be a professional golfer when he grows up.

Kev added: "While he has a passion for golf and enjoys playing we will support and encourage Ritchie all the way.

"It is quite exciting to think what the future could hold if he continues on this trajectory."