It is a sad fact of life that the average membership age of the three thousand plus golf clubs in England is towards the middle sixties and rising annually.
The challenge, therefore, is how to entice youngsters away from more easily accessible sports like soccer in order to experience the delights of golf. West Wilts GC has an ongoing cadet programme which offers twice weekly 6 hole sessions under adult supervision. The two regular cadet players featured in the photos are John Bennett and Jordan Richards shown in front of The Club House and out on the course. John is 10 years old and has been playing golf now for about 3 years displaying significant potential and motivation for the game. He attends St John's School in Trowbridge. Jordan Richards is 16, has been playing for 4 years and goes to Matravers in Westbury. His regular attendance at training is beginning to achieve commendable results. It's perhaps worth noting that Nick Faldo only took up golf at the age of 11 but would spend over 6 hours daily practising his bunker shots, much to the annoyance of the Head Greenkeeper who wanted to know where all the sand had gone; some might call that compulsive disorder syndrome but I guess it turned out OK for Nick in the end. Looking to the future of cadet golf, the Directors of West Wilts GC have decided to introduce a new category of membership whereby an adult member may play with an 8 to 18 year old son/daughter/grandson/granddaughter at no cost. Sets of golf clubs for a limited period and three lessons from our resident Professional will also be provided free of charge. It is hoped that this defraying of costs will encourage those maybe reluctant youngsters to come forward and at least give golf a try. For further information, please contact The Club Manager/Professional on 01985 213133 or visit our website at westwiltsgolfclub.co.uk
Although this week's focus has been to feature our cadets, it would be remiss of me not to mention how the West Wilts GC Seniors have been performing. On Monday 19th June, during our recent heatwave, the Seniors played away at Marlborough GC against a very strong team, writes Seniors' Vice Captain Terry Turner. John Barnes/David Thackaberry recorded a convincing 3 in 2 win followed by Ray White/Mike Oram who managed a thrilling half. Sadly, the remaining pairings saw Marlborough in the driving seat who recorded a four and a half to one and a half victory. Let's be positive and hope that the boot is on the other foot when we host Marlborough at home on Friday 21 July! Never being ones to lay low for long, the Seniors were back in action 3 days later on Thursday 22nd June away against South Wilts GC, Salisbury. Inspired by their Captain's pep talk where defeat was not an option, the Seniors promised to take no prisoners. The memorable performance of the day was from Alan Welch/Kevin O'Mahony who romped home with a 6 in 5 victory. To win so convincingly on an away match is a truly remarkable achievement of the highest order and they both deserve a huge pat on the back. Last but by no means least, Terry Turner/John Barnes were 3 down with 4 to play but managed to halve. The Seniors recorded a creditable three and a halve to two and a half away win.
As always, let's finish with a few choice golf quotes this time on the subject of putting: A noted psychiatrist's wife asked him why he never let her play golf with him. "My dear," he admonished her, "there are three things a man must do alone: testify, die and putt". Lee Trevino is a fantastic source of quotes and once said, "You don't know what pressure is until you play for five bucks with only two in your pocket." He also remarked, "I had a three-foot putt for $120,000. I made the putt, but my knuckles were white and do you know how hard I have to squeeze the putter to get my knuckles white?" That's about all for now, more again next week, writes the author Martin Hicks-Lobbecke.
Photo: (Left-Right) John Bennett and Jordan Richards