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England and Wales (North) Region

School kids get to grips with golf

27 Jun 14

2706LancsAstley

Golf was child's play when the sport was introduced to children at the annual Leigh Games.

And it proved so successful that some of the youngsters have already enrolled at the nearby Astley Driving Range to learn more about the game.

Its head PGA professional Gareth Benson, who is a Lancashire County coach with an impressive track record, later visited 10 schools and organised a Tri-Golf session for 330 pupils.

"We then arranged a competition for them at the range and the winner, St Stephen's, qualified for the Manchester Schools' Games final," he said.

"Many of them took to the game and I'm sure we'll see more of them in the future."

He is also delivering adult beginner courses as he passes on his teaching skills to all age groups.

Benson, who was helped in the venture by his PGA assistant Aaron Williams, is embracing the Lancashire County Golf Partnership Get into Golf initiative with Astley among 15 clubs and ranges which have signed up to it.

Iain Lancaster, the LCGP development officer, said: "Astley is a shining example of what Get into Golf is all about. We are confident more centres will grasp the opportunity to join our campaign and bring beginners through a successful pathway into club membership.

"Starting out in group sessions alongside other people in a similar situation is a great way of learning together and making new friends."

Meanwhile, Benson is celebrating a triple success this week - Curtis Clarkin (Nelson), Ciaran Doherty (Bury) and his fellow Lancashire player Joe Brice from the host club finished first, second and third in the Cleveland Srixon Northern Order of Merit Hulbert Trophy at Manchester Golf Club.

*Pictured: St Stephen's School pupils with PE co-ordinator Paul Puckey, left, Gareth Benson, centre, and Aaron Williams

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