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Southern clubs on a mission to develop junior golfers

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Coach Anthony Benny oversees the progress of golfers in Pointe-a-Pierre's junior program.  -
Coach Anthony Benny oversees the progress of golfers in Pointe-a-Pierre’s junior program. –

TWO golf clubs in Trinidad have a mission to develop the sport in the South. Pointe-a-Pierre Golf Club and St Madeleine Golf Club are focusing on their youth programs in an effort to produce quality golfers, build strong characters and contribute to the success of the national golf program.

Both Ste Madeleine and Pointe-a-Pierre hope to introduce more youngsters to golf.

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

The clubhouse makes golf accessible to children.

“Youth will get free membership and free access to the golf course. The youngsters will be 17 or younger…they can come any day and play golf, they don’t have to pay a fee,” Lord said.

The Ste Madeleine program will serve golfers ages five to 17.

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

Ste Madeleine Golf Course is busy with activities with weekly weekend games and monthly medals.

Pointe-a-Pierre head coach Anthony Benny aims to provide an avenue for young golfers.

Kennedy Lord, President of the Ste Madeleine Golf Club. -Lincoln Holder

Benny said: “We have started a youth program at Pointe-a-Pierre Golf Club that is about a year old…we have a vibrant youth program. The program is well put together with the number of coaches needed to guide the kids through a process and therefore develop a golfer.”

The junior program at Pointe-a-Pierre has around 30-40 children.

Benny has five other trainers working alongside him that he believes in.

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

He made special mention of the club coordinator, Gail Ramdeen.

“We have the best coordinator that TT has ever had. He does a fabulous job.”

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

Benny said: “For July/August, what I am doing in Pointe-a-Pierre is organizing a camp for the youth. It will work Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday. It will be working from three to five in the afternoon.

Benny said that the more advanced children will attend the clinic on Mondays and Wednesdays.

During the Pointe-a-Pierre Kiddies program in July/August, participants will participate in “golf tours” where every Wednesday the kids will experience a different golf course in Trinidad. The club wants to allow youngsters to experience different putting greens, different course layouts, different fairways and different driving ranges that will enhance their development and not limit them.

Benny said that the skill shown by the children is impressive.

Golf coach Faud Ramjohn watches as one of the young golfers throws 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 perform and they’re all smiling looking at the kids.”

The July/August Kiddies program at Pointe-a-Pierre begins on Monday.

Lord said: “We know that during July and August children will be out of school… and 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 show will kick off on July 11 with Ramjohn in charge. Classes will be held 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 be held at Ste Madeleine, one in July and one in August. It will only cost $300 for each clinic.

Children can participate in both programs.

Both Benny and Lord know the value of golf and how it benefits children.

Benny said that life skills are developed through the program.

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

Benny said that there is a knowledgeable coaching staff with several strengths.

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

Most of the participants at Pointe-a-Pierre are 12 years old or younger, but plan to involve older children in the program.

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

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

“What we have done is reach all the primary schools in the area and its surroundings. This was just as they were opening back up post covid. As you can imagine, that didn’t get much traction because covid is still prevalent and parents are still cautious, but as soon as things settle down, that’s the intention of going back to primary schools.”

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

Benny also believes that it must be a collaborative effort between the clubs and the TTGA to develop golf in this country.

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

Golf clubs in Central and South are joining forces to develop the sport, Lord said.

“The Ste Madeleine Golf Club is part of a three-club deal with Pointe-a-Pierre and with BC (Brechin Castle) and that three-club deal was formed at the end of 2021 and the aim is for the three clubs to support each other. Yes. others by having interclub games”.

Young golfers practice their swing at the Ste Madeleine golf course. -Lincoln Holder

Women and girls are a priority in Ste Madeleine and Pointe-a-Pierre. Lord said: “We’re actually trying to get young girls involved… we’d love for them to join the club, become members, get interested in the sport.

“It is not a male-dominated sport by any means, but there is room for young women to participate. We want to welcome young girls to our club and invite them to come and be a part of the training program as well.”

At Pointe-a-Pierre, the girls are also an integral part of the club and the girls play alongside the boys.

Benny and Lord believe that their clubs will soon produce national golfers.

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

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

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

Benny said, “They’re going out, don’t worry.” Benny highlighted a couple of players that he already sees as having potential to represent TT.

Golf is often thought of as an expensive sport, but clubs are making it affordable.

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

For more information about Pointe-a-Pierre, contact 733-1070/315-5592 or email [email protected] and [email protected]

For Ste Madeleine, contact 369-8619 or 720-1988, email [email protected], or check out Ste Madeleine Golf Club on Facebook.

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