BURTON’S Matthew Kirby is one of 18 junior golfers from across the Midlands who played the nine-hole course at Branston Golf & Country Club last Sunday for the start of the 2014 EZGO Junior Tour.
Aimed at creating a fun tour for children in their local area and keeping them interested in the game, the tour encourages youngsters with little golf experience to play on different courses and meet other junior golfers.
Richard Odell, director of golf at Branston and organiser of the tour, said: “If a child is having coaching and doesn’t get on a golf course within six months we believe we’ll lose over 90 per cent of them from the game.
“So this tour is designed to fill the gap between coaching on a range, whilst giving them the excitement of playing away from their home club on short courses and meeting kindred spirits from other clubs.”
Launched in 2008 by Mike Dodd, a Dorset-based golf professional, and sponsored by EZGO golf buggies, the junior tour is spreading across Britain as more golf professionals realise that youngsters they are coaching soon lose interest if there is no excitement in their golf.
This year’s tour includes monthly visits this summer to golf clubs at Lichfield, Three Hammers (Wolverhampton), Queslett Park, (Great Barr), Morley Hayes, Darnford Moors, and Lea Marston before returning to Branston for the grand final and presentation of awards on September 7.
Commenting on the aims of the tour, Joe Docksey – Branston’s academy manager – said: “Players came in three age ranges – Under-7, Under-10, and Older – with special rules, including different tee options and maximum shots per hole applying so new golfers can really enjoy the game encouraging them to stick with the sport and make new friends in golf.
“We even allow parents to caddy – providing they don’t do any coaching on the day!”