HARRY ELLIS has received a hand-signed letter of congratulations from the most accomplished golf player of all time, Jack Nicklaus.
The 17-year-old Meon Valley Club golfer was humbled to receive recognition from the man known as The Golden Bear, who has won more major championship titles than anybody in the history of the sport with a total of 18.
Nicklaus, an idol of Ellis’, wrote to congratulate the young Hampshire golfer on surpassing Sir Nick Faldo’s proud 37-year-record of being the youngest-ever English amateur champion, a feat Ellis achieved at Silloth-on-Solway Golf club in August.
Nicklaus wrote: ‘Dear Harry. Congratulations on your recent victory at the English Amateur Championship at Silloth-on-Solway Golf Club and for being the youngest winner of the event.
‘What a terrific accomplishment and an exciting opportunity! I am certain this experience has provided you with many important lessons, as well as some very special memories that will last a life time.
‘Best wishes for continued success on and off the golf course.
‘Sincerely, Jack Nicklaus.’
Ellis became the youngest-ever English amateur champion at 16 years, 11 months and 28 days, beating the previous record set by 18-year-old Faldo when he won at Royal Lytham in 1975.
And the teenager confessed he was touched to have received the letter from 72-year-old Nicklaus, which had been organised by Meon Valley Golf Club.
Ellis said: ‘It was a lovely gesture from the golf club.
‘To have a signed letter from Jack Nicklaus is something that not many people will have.
‘He is an icon for golf. He is someone that I never got to watch growing up but I have the greatest admiration for him.’
Faldo went on to become a top player of his era, winning three Open titles and three Masters crowns.
But Ellis is refusing to get carried away with his success.
He said: ‘Golf is a long process – I’m still only 17.
‘For me, this is an opportunity to develop and continue to work on my game.
‘I am working very hard, I have a good team around me and I have great support.
He added: ‘One of my long term ambitions for amateur is to play in the Walker Cup.
‘If that doesn’t happen for me next year then I can keep working on my game and wait another two years.’