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Warwickshire "get into golf" success
19th November 2012

WARWICKSHIRE COUNTY GOLF PARTNERSHIP
Silver lining for Get into golf apprentice

Carolyn Talbot, who started playing thanks to a Get into golf scheme, with the trophies she has won this year at Leamington & County Golf Club

WARWICKSHIRE golfer Carolyn Talbot has enjoyed a trophy-winning season - after only taking up the sport four years ago.

The mum of two from Leamington started playing thanks to Get into golf group coaching and a unique Apprenticeship club membership scheme.

Now the 28 handicapper is enjoying the competitive, health and social benefits of becoming a full member at Leamington & County Golf Club, which is based in Golf Lane, Whitnash.

And she has picked up three of the major trophies competed for by the club's ladies section, winning the McDonald Trophy, the Dick Cunnyham and the knockout matchplay final in the Solitaire Cup.

Part-time office administrator Carolyn admits she is now hooked on the sport.

"I did not know how to go about learning the game, the rules, finding the right equipment and, like a lot of people, worried that I would find a golf club a bit snobby," said Carolyn, who had only previously tried the sport on par 3 courses while on family holidays.

"But I heard about the group coaching lessons at Leamington through a friend. It was a great way to begin, especially as I was alongside other ladies who were starting out in golf like me.

"Since then I have become hooked on the sport and have found the members at Leamington to be very friendly and encouraging.

"I have really enjoyed making new friends, socialising at the club, getting out for some exercise in the fresh air while I also enjoy the challenge of playing the game itself."

Clubs across the county are encouraged to help people to give golf a go, under the umbrella of the Warwickshire County Golf Partnership's drive to make it easier than ever to take up the sport as part of the nationwide Get into golf campaign.

Free taster sessions and discounted lessons are available to help people of all ages and abilities try the sport or return to golf after a spell away.

Leamington & County, which has received national recognition for its beginner-friendly approach with the award of GolfMark, has taken the initiative a step further by introducing an Apprenticeship scheme for those thinking of becoming golf club members.

It allows them to sample the benefits of becoming a full member at a discounted rate.

As part of the coaching courses run by head PGA professional Julian Mellor and his team, newcomers are taken out on the course to play a few holes with club members.

The Apprenticeship membership level then gives people limited access to the course - which allows them to play often enough to see if they want to take their interest further - and introduces them to the social side of club life.

"It gives new golfers the chance to see a way forward into club membership without having to commit straight away if they do not wish to do so," explained Angela Eadon, chair of golf development at Leamington & County. "We also offer loan schemes for equipment which all contributes to taking away some of the barriers to getting involved in golf."

The 104 years-old club, which has twice been nominated for club of the year awards for its work with beginners of all ages, has seen the benefits of its Apprenticeship scheme deliver 50 new members, which in turn has helped the social calendar and private lessons side of club life.

"We feel the Apprenticeship scheme is a way of bridging the gap between the initial free lessons or group coaching and helping people become at ease with being out on the course, learning the rules and etiquette and getting the most from club life," added Angela, a former volunteer of the year award winner.

"Without the coaching scheme and the Apprenticeship membership I would never have become a member of a club," added Carolyn. "Now I really love it, play as often as I can hoping to improve my game, and enjoy mixing with the other members of the club."

Says Julia Burton, county development officer for the Warwickshire County Golf Partnership: "Carolyn's story shows how wrong many of the perceptions surrounding golf and golf clubs are.

"She has found a warm welcome, plenty of encouragement and expert advice to help her enjoy the sport and life as a golf club member to the full.

"Leamington & County are to be congratulated on an innovative approach which is helping people move easily into golf club membership and to appreciate the full benefits that the sport can bring from both a health and social point of view."

Get into golf is a national campaign to inspire new golfers run by the England Golf Partnership through its network of County Golf Partnerships, which work to grow the game.

Get into golf opportunities include free or low-cost beginner courses with PGA professionals. They are a fun and sociable way to start golf - and a great way to make new friends.

Discounted lessons can cost as little as £25 for a five-week course.

To find your nearest centre visit   getintogolf.org   and look at the activity map or  call 0800 118 2766

For more details of the Warwickshire County Golf Partnerships activities, visit www.warwickshiregolf.info

For more details of coaching courses and membership offers at Leamington & County please visit www.leamingtongolf.co.uk or ring Angie Eadon on 07979862201

The England Golf Partnership (EGP) brings together the amateur governing body, England Golf and the PGA, to grow the game with the support of the Golf Foundation and Sport England.

County Golf Partnerships, involving the county men's women's and professional organisations, are part of the EGP's Whole Sport Plan for golf and an integral part of its vision to make England the world's leading golf nation by 2020.

In Warwickshire the partnership is supported by the Warwickshire Union of Golf Clubs, the Warwickshire County Ladies Golf Association and the Warwickshire PGA.

For more information on the work of the Warwickshire Golf Partnership contact Julia Burton, County Development Officer, Warwickshire County Golf Partnership.

Website: www.warwickshiregolf.info

Mobile: 07917 131001

Email: julia@warwickshiregolf.info







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