Tralee a driving force for young golfers
Bringing in young players is something every golf club has to work at, with the numbers showing an ageing membership across the sport. But positive examples of the work being done abound, with one clear example in Tralee, Co Kerry, where every effort is being made to nurture the players of tomorrow.
For the growing band of juniors learning to play the game, the Kerry links is fast becoming a dream academy.
Those too young to tackle the championship course get their first taste of golf on the club’s fivehole academy course. Next year, the club plans to have completed work on a par-three course, designed by Martin Hawtree, featuring six holes, the longest of which will measure 200 yards. This addition will provide an intermediate step for players as they learn.
“By the time they hit the main course, they’ll be ready for it,” says Catherine Mccarthy, Tralee’s junior convenor.
Coaching camps are run during Easter and summer holidays and it is a requirement for prospective juniors that they complete at least one camp before taking up membership. As an incentive, first-year junior membership is available for just €50. Head professional David Power co-ordinates the club’s coaching programme while representatives from the club have also visited local primary schools on a recruitment drive.
While Tralee enjoys great popularity with visitors, particularly from the US, and reaps the benefit of the income, it is good to see real commitment to keeping new blood coming through at the club. While many clubs will be unable to invest in their facilities to that extent, promoting the game and encouraging young players is key to securing golf’s future.