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Loosen up to get families golfing
26th June 2012

An article written by Nick Gamble
My name is Nick Gamble (22), I' m a mid-handicapper and fledgling golf writer who loves all aspects of the game. I am just finishing up a Masters in Philosophy whilst trying to get my career in golf journalism off the ground and fix a swing that needs a lot of work

Kids in Cumbria limbering up to "Get into golf"

 

 

Loosen up to get families golfing

It's a glorious summer evening, you've got the itch to hit some balls and you think what a good way to spend time with the children. But do they want to go? Unlikely.

 

Here's a girl who does - 16 year old World Ranking Charlie Hull of England (Photo LeaderboardPhotography)

With kids, golf has always had its work cut out for it. It's frustrating, difficult to start, time consuming to improve and slow.

On top of all of that it's expensive, from shoes to green fees.

But, to think that golf is not trying its best would be a mistake.

In 2007, four giants of the golf industry got together and formed Grow Golf , a foundation with the aim of doing just that. Callaway, Ping, Acushnet (Tilesit and Footjoy) and Taylormade/Adidas joined forces to bring kids into the game and keep them there.

Given the size of the players involved this is certainly not a 'band aid for a bullet wound' or half arsed hand waving.

It doesn't stop there either. Dating back to 1951, The Golf Foundation has been fighting the fight. Its new project Golf Roots looks to promote the game with kids and its backing from HSBC suggests that it's not messing around.

Amongst these two big projects, there are several other smaller ones, each trying to reach kids, through making it attainable in their area, school or opening the local clubs up to the youth.

Junior rates help too. For parents this is good news, especially at the moment. For teenagers, who are paying for themselves (sometimes) it is now an affordable option.

These large scale moves are necessary, but I can't help but think that the real issues lie at a much more basic level; where your child is turned away from a club because their smartest trainers and trousers don't fit the dress code.

Parents are unlikely to shell out upwards of 30 quid for shoes and a further 20 for trousers when they aren't sure that they won't just end up at the back of a closet somewhere in two weeks.

I'm not suggesting that clubs allow people to play in tank tops and tracksuits, it is certainly important to maintain the traditions of this wonderful game, its part of its charm and its history should be preserved.

But, for those that make an effort, the fact that they aren't wearing golf specific clothing shouldn't be an issue.

Draconian dress codes are also just one symptom of the close-minded nature that is still part of some clubs.

If the course is a fun place to be, kids will want to go, and if they aren't getting looks from the spike bar like they just brought a dog in and wanted to sign him up for the monthly medal, parents will take them.

Walsall School and "Get into Golf"

The more open clubs tend to be, unavoidably, in poor shape or worse, boring. If kids can't play at the nicer courses, they aren't going to keep at it. If parents can't take their kid to the course they normally play, they aren't going to take them.

The professional tours are doing their bit, with constant promotions of the 'new breed' like 19 year old Italian-wunderkind Matteo Manassero, new English stud Tom Lewis (21) or the 24 year old orange clad biker-boy Rickie Fowler.

What now needs to happen are changes of attitude at the grass roots level. Kids need to feel more at ease at golf clubs, whilst being taught the traditions. Then when you ask them whether they want to tag along, maybe they will.

 







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