Carl Mason taking aim at Snag Man (Getty Images)
By Nick Totten at Woburn
A group of inner city children have been wowing passersby with their new found golf skills at the Travis Perkins plc Senior Masters.
The group from Tower Hamlets in London are more used to high rises and city living but with SNAG golf’s plastic clubs, tennis balls and various Velcro targets they’re really getting stuck in.
Frank Harrington, Tower Hamlets Extended Services, introduced SNAG to the area and thinks the five week summer workshop that mixed tuition with time on the specially designed courses will go from strength to strength.
He said: “Golf in the inner cities has always been a no-no and with the help of the Tower Hamlets Parks Department, the Healthy Lives Campaign and the Government’s Change for Life initiative we have really made it work.
“A scheme like this has never been on the agenda until now and hopefully in the future people will take the idea and run with it in their own areas.”
David Gosling, Director of Golf for International Golf Development, has been working for ten years developing the tuition that the kids are receiving through SNAG.
He said: “As a pro bringing people into golf has always been difficult as they often find the etiquette or rules of the game too daunting. Snag aims to provide an easier transition onto the course for people of all ages.
“It is also about teaching people life skills, and having recently listed at least 68 areas of self development like self control, self discipline and sportsmanship available through golf we believe people can really learn from the game.”
The guys running the scheme this week are not short of ambition as they aim to bring a million new people to golf in the next five years.
Shaun McBride, Regional Manager for Ireland, feels that golf has always struggled with an image problem and that by coming at it from a different angle they can get more people involved.
He said: “We launched just over a year ago and having finalised our first set of structured programmes and with our equipment being so easy to use we believe we can take golf onwards and upwards. The sport has never really been marketed very well. We like to think of ourselves as growing the game, but in a different garden.”
Also on hand to sing the praises of the scheme was ten year old Phoebe McKenzie, the newly crowned Tower Hamlets Girls Champion.
She said: “I enjoy playing golf. It’s really exciting and it gets people out and about instead of being stuck inside all the time.”
And proudly watching on as her daughter showed off her championship winning form was mother Denise who thinks the scheme is a great idea.
She said: “We heard about it through the local kids summer scheme. She has always been a very sporty girl and it is nice for people to be able to play something other than football.”
And for the final word we can go back to Phoebe who on winning her championship told her Mum - “I told you I was good” – spoken like a true champion.