The kids are loving their golf

HAS there ever been a better time for youngsters to take up golf?

HAS there ever been a better time for youngsters to take up golf?

That’s not a question that would have been actively discussed in many golf club bars over a pint of bitter 25 years ago.

Children welcome at golf clubs? Not especially.

It was only a few forward-thinking clubs that embraced a junior section.

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To the outside world, golf was perceived as a game for people with money and retired folk, certainly not for 10-year-olds!

A tad unfair to some, but many clubs and their members didn’t go out of their way to stifle the view.

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However, that’s all changed.

Golf has moved into the 21st century – and in style – with thousands of young boys and girls across the country now playing and enjoying the game.

At no other time has golf been more accessible to children. And great credit must be given to PGA professionals, golf clubs and their members, who are now embracing children into the sport we all love.

Sarah Wilson, owner of Bramford Golf Centre, has seen a dramatic rise in youngster participation in golf. And she loves it.

“Virtually all golf clubs now embrace juniors at their clubs,” she said.

“When I started at 15, I was the only young girl at Rushmere Golf Club. It’s all changed now.

“At Bramford we have Sunday morning academies on a Passport to Golf scheme. Kids start at five-years-old and upwards.

“Like most clubs, we have a junior membership. Here at Bramford, I always wanted to build a family-friendly golf centre, hence the pitch and putt and golf range. I feel we have done that.”

As a sport, golf has the advantage of being enjoyable to play, whatever level you are at.

You don’t have to be a star player to get a lot out the game. And as Sarah adds, certainly at Bramford, they encourage kids to come and have a go, whatever their standard.

“We don’t have a dress code for youngsters here,” she said.

“If they want to turn up in jeans and and t-shirts, that’s up to them. But what I’ve noticed is, that after a couple of weeks of playing, they want to dress how everyone else is – in trousers and proper shirts and look smart.

“Some people still think the sport is expensive, but that’s not the case. Children can have membership for very small amounts a year, and they only need three clubs to start off with – a ‘walloper’ (wood), an iron (say eight iron) and a putter.”

The Suffolk Golf Partnership has made big strides for children in recent years, giving professional coaching to those between the ages of nine and 15, who have shown promise in trial days.

But you don’t have to be part of the Academy to enjoy golf.

Children are taking up golf in record numbers – and the likes of Sarah Wilson and many of her PGA professional colleagues should be applauded for their efforts.

The sport’s future has never looked brighter.

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