THE Central West's junior golfers are being given a new opportunity to develop their skills.
This Sunday, the Central Western District Golf Association will hold an Encourage Shield event for the first time.
The Encourage Shield is a Jack Newton Junior Golf Foundation initiative designed to give young players matchplay experience.
The mixed event has restrictions in that boys cannot have a handicap below seven and girls must play off at least 10.
"It's to encourage juniors to develop their matchplay skills," CWDGA junior promotions officer Bruce McLean said.
Five teams will contest the Central West competition on Sunday - Orange, Bathurst, Forbes, Dubbo and Mudgee.
In the handicap matchplay competition, the number one ranked players in each team meet and so on through the team to the sixth-ranked members.
On Sunday at Wellington, each team member will play two matchplay games of 18 holes each.
Each individual match is worth one point for a team with six up for grabs for each round.
As two rounds will be played on Sunday, each player will have two matches.
The top two teams with the most points after Sunday's 36 holes will move into the regional final which is to be played by the end of November.
The winning team from the play-off will take on the Blue Mountains regional winner over 18 holes.
From here there is one more round before the team earns a place in the state finals.
Many of the top junior players are selected in Eric Apperly Shield teams - a junior matchplay competition.
McLean said the Encourage Shield was an opportunity for young players whose handicaps aren't quite low enough for Eric Apperly Shield to experience a different form of the game.
"They're trying to form a pathway where players will have matchplay experience," he said.
McLean said he expected some great matches on Sunday.
"It's pretty open because it's handicap matchplay. All the teams are pretty even," he said.
Sunday's event will start at 9am at Wellington Golf Club.