Get into golf is a national campaign run by England Golf, the governing body for all amateur golf in England, to get more people golfing. Don’t be fooled by the name; it isn’t just for people new to the sport, it’s for anyone that is looking to get into golf – no matter your age or gender.
In January 2016 I signed up for a five-week Get into golf course at Bromsgrove Golf Centre in the Midlands with Head PGA Professional Rob Laing. After successfully promoting the idea to other Mums at my daughter’s school, we had two groups that met on a Monday night – a beginner’s and an improvers group. Due to the popularity of the groups, England Golf’s Worcestershire County Development Officer (and Rob’s Dad) Mark Laing was also on hand to instruct and give feedback throughout the program.
As it was January, we only had the option of using floodlit covered bays in the evenings, and with the temperature hovering around 0 degrees Celcius (32 Fahrenheit), it meant that Rob had his work cut out to keep us motivated and coming back for more! But against these odds, we had full group sessions every week.
The beginner’s group spent their five weeks working through the fundamentals of golf covering everything from grip and posture to how to swing using different types of clubs. All of this was done in a relaxed and fun atmosphere with everyone able to learn at their own pace.
I was part of the improvers group which was a mix of sporadic golfers like me and lapsed golfers who hadn’t picked up a club in a long time. This gave Rob the option to be more flexible with what he delivered to us each week – adapting drills to suit the overall ability of our group. Over the five weeks, we worked through a range of shots, covering every club in our bags apart from putters. Through the use of cones, poles, hoops and baskets, Rob set up specific targets and target zones for us to aim for. It really helped us to focus on how we were hitting the ball rather than just hitting a basket of balls on the range.
Unsurprisingly after five weeks we had all caught the golfing bug! Luckily our journey didn’t end there, and we were all given the opportunity to sign up for another five weeks to develop our skills further.
A year on and we still have two groups on a Monday night, with a further ten groups, including juniors, running during the rest of the week. It’s great to see an initiative that started as some Mums getting into golf and now their partners, children and friends are getting involved too.
Emma Ballard is Digital Content Manager for Medi8 Limited a Marketing Communications Agency in the UK. A keen golfer from an early age, calling herself lucky to have Wentworth Golf Club as her home club growing up.
Although her playing became sporadic, Emma’s love for golf has always been there, and she has spent her whole career in the golf industry. She wants to use her industry knowledge and passion for the game to get more people playing golf. Emma Ballard is part of England Golf’s Women and Girls Advisory Group and used the Get into golf program to find a new club and make new friends when her family moved to a new area.
You can follow Emma on Twitter @Medi8Emma.