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Maylands provides passport to progress

PUBLISHED: 16:45 16 January 2012

Maylands Golf Club was designed by famous architect Harry Colt

Maylands Golf Club was designed by famous architect Harry Colt

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Coaching scheme helps juniors

Having resolved to play more golf in 2012, I was delighted to accept the chance of nine holes at Maylands recently.

Once a 17-handicapper, I could count on one hand the amount of times I played last year and did not hold out much hope for my Beat the Pro Challenge with Darren Parker.

But it was good just to get out on the course and, given the strong winds which had hit Havering earlier in the week, we were very lucky to be greeted with calm blue skies as we set off from the 10th tee.

Parker, the 1999 National Assistants champion, informed me had not played for a month, yet eased his way round the Harry Colt-designed course in level par.

His bogey at the par-three 16th handed me my only success of the morning, as I managed to hit a five-iron pin high and two-putted for my par.

Otherwise, my game was very rusty, but with a helpful tip or two from Parker, who has been head pro at Maylands for eight years and associated with the club for much longer, I’m hoping to play more and play better.

If only I were still at school, though. Then I would be able to sign up for the Junior Golf Passport scheme, designed by the Golf Foundation, which Parker runs at Maylands with Ray Secker.

A new intake of 7-to-11 year olds will start lessons in March, where they will be taught everything about golf, from hitting the ball properly to behaving correctly.

Parker said: “The club got its Golfmark status last year. It took about a year and was a lot of hard work to get accreditation.

“But we proved we’ve got the best practices in place and Ray has been absolutely brilliant, I couldn’t do it without him.”

After showing youngsters the basics, from how to hit a golf ball, where to stand when others are playing and how to mark out a card, over a five-week period, Parker and Secker will move them on to a nine-hole short course, which has been created in an old practice field.

“There is a structure in place for the children and their parents to follow,” added Parker. “I’ve come out of playing as much myself to focus on teaching and it’s good to see them coming through.”

Maylands boasted some of the best young talent in the county in 2009, when they claimed the Essex Youth Shield.

Of that team, Nick Elsom and Jordan Wallace have since moved on to jobs at West Essex and Abridge, respectively, while Jack Higgs is hoping to turn professional at Maylands.

And despite the difficult economic climate, the club appears to be thriving and the course was in excellent condition, if a little wet underfoot in certain areas, which was to be expected during the winter season.

For more information on the club go to www.maylandsgolf.com

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