GOLF

Southern clubs on a mission to develop junior golfers

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Coach Anthony Benny monitors the progress of golfers in the Pointe-à-Pierre junior program. –

TWO golf clubs in Trinidad have a mission to develop the sport in the South. Club de golf Pointe-à-Pierre and Club de golf Sainte-Madeleine focus on their junior programs with the goal of producing quality golfers, forging strong personalities and contributing to the success of the national golf program.

Ste Madeleine and Pointe-à-Pierre hope to introduce more young people to golf.

St Madeleine President Kennedy Lord said a junior program is one of the club’s initiatives.

The club makes golf accessible to children.

“Juniors will benefit from free membership and free access to the golf course. Juniors will be 17 and under…they can come any day and play golf, they don’t have to pay a fee,” Lord said.

The Ste Madeleine program will be aimed at golfers aged 5 to 17.

Two certified trainers work in Ste Madeleine including Faud Ramjohn and Sherizz Rampersad.

The Ste Madeleine golf course is full of activities with weekly games on weekends and monthly medals.

Pointe-à-Pierre head coach Anthony Benny aims to provide an avenue for junior golfers.

Kennedy Lord, president of the Ste Madeleine Golf Club. – Lincoln Holder

Benny said: “We started a junior program at Pointe-à-Pierre Golf Club which is about a year old…we have a vibrant junior program. The program is well designed by having the number of coaches needed to guide children through a process and thus develop a golfer.

The Pointe-à-Pierre junior program has approximately 30 to 40 children.

Benny has five other coaches working alongside him who he believes in.

“They are doing a fabulous job. Everyone is holding their own and doing well,” Benny said.

He made a special mention of club coordinator Gail Ramdeen.

“We have the best coordinator TT has ever had. She does a fabulous job.

Pointe-à-Pierre and Ste Madeleine plan to have a program for the July/August holidays.

Benny said: “For the month of July/August, what I am doing in Pointe-à-Pierre is organizing a camp for young people. It will take place Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. It will work from three to five o’clock in the afternoon.

Benny said the more advanced children will come to the clinic on Monday and Wednesday.

During the July/August Pointe-à-Pierre Kiddies program, participants will take part in “golf tours” where every Wednesday children will discover a different golf course in Trinidad. The club wants to allow juniors to discover different greens, different course layouts, different fairways and different practices that will promote their development and not limit them.

Benny said the ability shown by the children is impressive.

Golf coach Faud Ramjohn watches one of the junior golfers throw a ball during a lesson at the Ste Madeleine golf course. – Lincoln Holder

He said, “You’d be surprised to see these little kids with their parents standing back and watching their kids playing and they’re all smiling watching the kids.”

The July/August Kiddies program in Pointe-à-Pierre begins on Monday.

Lord said: “We know that in July and August the children are going to be away from school… and the parents want to do a number of things.

“We think parents could reward kids by introducing them to a new sport and the new sport, in this case, is golf.”

The Ste Madeleine program will begin on July 11 with Ramjohn at the helm. Classes will take place five days a week.

“The children are going to be in a safe and secure environment. There will be assistants who will work alongside the coach (Ramjohn),” Lord said.

Two clinics will take place in Ste Madeleine – one in July and one in August. It will only cost $300 for each clinic.

Children are allowed to participate in both programs.

Both Benny and Lord know the value of golf and its benefits for children.

Benny said life skills are developed through the program.

“The program is not just about teaching golf to young people. It’s about teaching young people responsibility, about handling things on their own, because when you’re on the golf course and playing golf, there’s no parent with you to hit the ball.

Benny said there is a capable coaching staff with varying strengths.

“In the program we have coaches like an assembly plant where we have a putting coach, we have a coach to show you how to hold the club, we have a coach to show you how to chip.”

The majority of participants in Pointe-à-Pierre are 12 and under, but they plan to involve older children in the program.

Lord said attendees will learn the basic rules of golf, the history of the sport, proper golf attire and social skills.

Ste Madeleine contacted many primary schools in the community to encourage students to play golf.

“What we did was we reached out to all the primary schools in and around the area. It was just as they were reopening after covid. As you can well imagine it hasn’t been very successful as covid is still prevalent and parents are still cautious but as soon as things recover it is the intention to return to primary schools .

Encouraging children to play golf is an initiative of the TT Golf Association (TTGA) which Ste Madeleine supports. The TTGA’s Starting New at Golf program introduces people in schools and communities to golf.

Benny also believes it needs to be a collaborative effort between the clubs and the TTGA to grow golf in this country.

“I’ve been involved in junior golf most of my life and I can tell you that if the junior programs aren’t going anywhere it’s because of the way the clubs do their business. The focus should be on on the sport, the focus should be on developing the sport, the focus should be on the improvement or development of the child as children are the future members and golfers of TT.”

Central and southern golf clubs are joining forces to develop the sport, Lord said.

“The Ste Madeleine Golf Club is part of a tri-club agreement with Pointe-à-Pierre and with BC (Brechin Castle) and this tri-club agreement was formed at the end of 2021 and the objective is that the three clubs will support each other by organizing interclub matches.

Junior golfers practice their swing at Golf Ste Madeleine. – Lincoln Holder

Women and girls are a priority in Ste Madeleine and Pointe-à-Pierre. Lord said: “We are indeed trying to get young girls involved…we would like them to join the club, become members, take an interest in the sport.

“It is by no means a male dominated sport, but there is room for young girls. We want to welcome young girls to our club and invite them to come and be part of the training program as well.

In Pointe-à-Pierre, girls are also an integral part of the club, with the girls playing alongside the boys.

Benny and Lord believe their clubs will soon be producing national golfers.

“I spoke to Stephen Ames’ mother…and her comment is that we need a new Stephen Ames,” Lord said.

Ames is one of the best golfers TT has ever developed.

“The goal at Ste Madeleine with the help of coach (Faud) and Sherizz and so on is to produce players who are at the junior national level and senior national level over time,” Lord said.

Benny said, “They’ll come out, don’t worry.” Benny highlighted a few players he already sees with the potential to represent TT.

Golf is often considered an expensive sport, but clubs make it affordable.

Lord said: “We are trying to make golf accessible to the ordinary citizen.”

For more information on Pointe-à-Pierre, contact 733-1070/315-5592 or email ramdeengail@gmail.com and golfproanthonybenny@gmail.com.

For Ste Madeleine, contact 369-8619 or 720-1988, email stemadeleinegolfclub@gmail.com or check out Ste Madeleine Golf Club on Facebook.

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