We speak to two PGA pros to hear how they're getting the next generation engaged with the game...
How PGA Pros Are Nurturing The Next Generation Of Golfers
Don’t tell Evie Carter what she can or can’t achieve.
This PGA pro in the East Midlands is setting a new standard for junior golf development.
Not only does Carter coach 50 children each week at The Golf Centre in Coalville; not only does she run the junior programme at Lingdale GC; not only does she coach at a local school, but this year Carter has also set up the U.S. Kids Junior Tour for the East Midlands, which is the first of its kind in England.
“I ran my first tournament in April,” starts Carter, who turned pro in 2015 after graduating from the University of Birmingham with a degree in Applied Golf Management, supported by the PGA.
“The format is great. There are no handicaps but instead, depending on what age group a child fits into, they tee off from certain tee numbers laid out on the fairways.
“The children play their whole round teeing off from that number on each hole. Even though it is stroke play it is designed so that the kids can actually go out there and shoot under par.
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“They can all reach the par 3s, and they can reach the par-fives in three.
“We have held five tournaments so far and the Tour Championships are being held at Branston GC on August 3.”
Demand is rising and it is easy to see why.
Carter is providing memorable, exciting golf days for young golfers, even if it means she can’t take a day off herself.
Meanwhile, PGA pro Neil Plimmer and his company JOLF are stripping the game right back to basics with a game called Golf Park, that introduces primary school children to golf.
“All our time is spent putting clubs in children’s hands for the first time,” starts Plimmer, who travels around schools in the south-east, but with geographical reach growing all the time.
“We set-up a six-hole golf course on a school field, playground or in a hall. The children start from the first tee and try to hit the ball towards the flag while missing the water, bunkers and trees.
“We don’t tell the kids to hold the club this way or stand that way. We ask them to play sensibly and fairly, and then show us what they’ve got.
“Then it is their game, they play on their terms. We want it to be their experience, not something we are imposing on them. Children react really well to that. It is empowering and motivating.”
Schools are reacting well too.
JOLF has been booked every school day from Easter until the end of term in July, putting golf clubs in more than 15,000 young pairs of hands in one school term.
If we can create a spark of interest with the children, then there are loads of opportunities for them to move on and play golf outside of school,” adds Plimmer.
“We connect with local clubs and coaches to send new golfers their way.”