England (Midlands) Region
29 Nov 18
Derbyshire-based PGA Professional Natalie Clarke is, quite literally, putting the fizz into golf.
Clarke, who has recently moved to the East Midlands Golf Academy at Morley Hayes after working at Beeston across the county border in Nottinghamshire, is running coaching sessions for women that end with them getting together for a glass of Prosecco.
It’s all part of her mission to get more women of all ages, especially youngsters, playing golf.
“As well encouraging women to play and enjoy the game, I want them to enjoy the social aspect,” said Clarke, who represented England as an amateur and worked for PGA Master Professional Pete Cowen after completing her PGA training.
“Some coaching sessions involve having a coffee and a chat afterwards but I’ve gone for a glass of Prosecco. I love Prosecco and so do most women I know.”
That was apparent following the first session she held at Morley Hayes last month. All seven ladies stayed for a glass of fizz, a chat and plenty of laughs before heading home.
“What’s not to like,” said Louise Scattergood (pictured right with Natalie Clarke), a complete beginner whose husband plays off 11.
“I’ve enjoyed trying to hit balls on the range and then getting together afterwards. It’s been great fun. I’ll certainly be back for the next one.”
The remaining six in the group were similarly enthusiastic and have all signed up for the second session in four weeks time.”
“They are scheduled to take place on the last Tuesday of the month and I’m expecting more ladies for the one in November,"Clarke added.
"I’m going to give them another push on social media – that works well for me.
“And I used to run similar sessions at Beeston and some of the ladies there have said they will follow me here.
“Unfortunately my first session coincided with a presentation night they had to attend so they couldn’t make it.”
As for the hour-long early evening sessions that cost £12, a price that includes the glass of fizz, golfers of all abilities are welcome.
Some like Louise Scattergood are starting from scratch, others are more accomplished. But no matter the level of skill and ability, there’s a collective willingness for everyone to do well.
Cheers of appreciation ring out and hi-fives are exchanged when a sweetly-struck ball disappears into the darkness; all of which can contrast sharply with all male coaching sessions that can turn into subliminal competitions to see who can tank the ball farthest.
“I want the ladies who come here to enjoy it and not feel intimidated or out of place,” Clarke adds. “The aim is to get them enjoying coming here so much that they will become regular golfers.”
Clarke’s bosses at Morley Hayes in particular and the golf industry in general will surely raise a glass to that.
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