Generation game is key for Corhampton

Neil Raymond. Picture: David Cannon/R&A
Neil Raymond. Picture: David Cannon/R&A
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The historic 125-year anniversary celebrations at Corhampton Golf Club are being seen as an opportunity to attract a new generation to the game.

The club, which is located on the Bishop’s Waltham road out of the village, has a host of events lined up from the end of May to the beginning of July to commemorate its birthday.

According to Peter Andrews, a longtime club member and part of the committee tasked with organising the events, the Corhampton Junior Open on July 3 is as important as any.

‘Juniors day is about bringing in local kids who have probably never played the game before and giving them an introduction,’ said Andrews.

‘We will be putting a bit of fun in to it, teaching them trick shots and that sort of thing.

‘We should all be involved with young people playing the sport and we want to encourage them.’

A Sport England survey released last year shows there are now 200,000 fewer people playing golf on a weekly basis compared to seven years ago.

With so many young people viewing the sport as old fashioned and stuffy, it is vital clubs across the country take every opportunity to engage a younger demographic.

‘We are doing a lot for the junior game and we are bringing some of our younger guys and girls into the core of the club,’ said the 67-year-old.

‘Fortunately, the average age of the club is getting younger.’

The club’s investment in youth paid off in 2013 when Neil Raymond, a golfer who rose through the ranks at Corhampton, turned professional.

The club currently boast one of the country’s leading amateurs – Scott Gregory – in their ranks.

And Andrews foresees a bright future for a number of other young talents at the club who like Gregory are already representing their country.

The festivities will kick off on May 29 with the 1891 Open Invitation event, which Andrews hopes will set the tone for the summer.

‘We are holding a lot in store for the first event of the celebrations,’ said the stalwart.

‘We are sending out invitations to local golf clubs and a few others who are already 125 years old.’

The club’s annual championship falls on June 18-19 but Andrews is keen the celebrations do not detract from the action on the fairways.

‘We are trying to make that a bit more of an occasion,’ he said.

‘But what we must not do is interfere with the golfing aspect because of its enormous significance within our club.

‘There will certainly be some food and a few drinks but whether or not it blends in to a party I don’t know.

‘Depending on how well they play they may or may not want to have a party!’