Battle goes on to attract the next golfing generation

Portsmouth Golf Centre coach Lee Nother with the junior golfers. Picture: Mick Young (124202-03)

Portsmouth Golf Centre coach Lee Nother with the junior golfers. Picture: Mick Young (124202-03)

Scott Gregory

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Staff at Portsmouth Golf Centre are cranking up their efforts to attract a new batch of talented golfers.

With so many accessible sports for youngsters to choose from these days, the competition is becoming increasingly tough for golf to find their next generation.

And in the wake of last summer’s Olympics, some young eyes have been opened to even more different activities that could see the sport losing out.

So the club adjacent to the Eastern Road is looking for more youngsters to join their group coaching sessions for those aged as young as just four years old to try their hand at golf.

Coach Lee Nother said: ‘We have up to 10 juniors per group.

‘The most popular are on a Saturday and Sunday morning at 10am but we also run a session on Fridays at 6pm.

‘We still get interest – but we are looking to get more youngsters to try the sport out.

‘There are so many sports that kids can do now, everyone is in a battle against each other to get them to try new sports out.

‘Our groups are pretty popular but we would like to see them much more popular.

‘There is that increased competition, though.

‘Kids have seen so many other sports through the Olympics – there is just more opportunity for them these days.

‘Golf has to show kids why they should be having a go.

‘The youngest we teach is four years old and the group lessons tend to go up to about 14 years old.’

At just £5 per session for 45 minutes, it’s good value.

And there are no stuffy dress codes or restrictive rules that have sometimes discouraged young golfers at private clubs in the region.

Nother said: ‘The kids can borrow equipment, the balls are supplied and it is 45 minutes per session.

‘The group environment for kids has always been popular in other sports.

‘But the idea is to work on some of the basics like the right grip, hit some balls and enjoy it.

‘The most important thing is to keep it fun and there are always games and mini competitions at the end of the session.

‘When you are coaching individuals, it’s normally a bit more detailed where you can work on the specifics a bit more.

‘This is just about giving youngsters an introduction to the game.’

While the range is covered and open in most weather, the idea is that these young golfers will eventually get their chance to try their luck on the Great Salterns course itself.

Nother said: ‘In the summer, we run competitions.

‘We want to get them out on the course playing together.’

And Nother has seen some big improvements already.

He said: ‘You do see kids coming along who just pick up a club for the first time and have a natural talent.

‘Golf is not normally a sport you can master straight away.

‘But you can see those who have that hand-eye co-ordination and every kid can improve with a bit of coaching and a bit of practice and enjoy the game.’

For more information, visit portsmouthgolfcentre.co.uk or telephone (023) 9266 4549.

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