By Will Pearson, europeantour.com
at Moscow Country Club
Colin Montgomerie delighted local juniors with a first-class golfing clinic on the range at Moscow Country Club during the Russian Open Golf Championship (Senior).
In association with the PGA of Russia, Senior Tour rookie Montgomerie spent 90 minutes with more than 30 juniors, plus an audience of other fans and fellow professionals, on Friday after shooting a three under par 69 in the first round.
It was an enthralling performance from the Senior Tour’s latest first-time winner, who triumphed at Woburn two weeks ago in just his third appearance in the Senior ranks since turning 50 in June, as the Scot worked through his full repertoire of shot-making – a display the children seemed to relish.
An entertaining routine of fades, draws, punch shots, stingers, flop shots and more prompted plenty of noise from the gathered audience, particularly when Montgomerie successfully targeted the ball-collecting vehicle to much mirth.
Golf is undoubtedly in its relative infancy in Russia and the host venue this week was the first and only 18-hole course for over a decade when it was opened in 1994.
There are currently fewer than 50 professional golfers in the country and just eight courses but with a further 12 in development Russia is certainly a burgeoning market.
The harsh winters of course present a challenge to a certain extent but Montgomerie feels that by starting the children off young, the sport can continue to grow and grow.
“One of the best things about The European Tour’s ethos, and that encompasses the Senior Tour and Challenge Tour too, is the desire to take golf to these young, developing markets,” said Montgomerie earlier in the week.
“It’s our job is to help try to grow the game in these countries and there is nowhere better to start than with the kids.
“We need more golf courses here but we also need to get children into golf from a young age so it was a pleasure to agree to conduct this clinic, symbolically at what was the first 18-hole course in the country.”
The clinic was organised by the PGA of Russia’s Denis Zherebko, who was the country’s first professional.
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