Where to next? Young Golfers in Thailand

Where to next? Young Golfers in Thailand

In many countries around the world, golf is suffering from the global recession, and the industry will really begin to suffer unless it starts to focus on its future.

You can play a game of football with your mates after school with a ball and a couple of posts for goals. Same for Cricket, you can play the game just with sticks for stumps.

Heartland-golf But for kids to play golf, they first need to persuade their parents to actually take them to the course, and then they need to rent or maybe buy a set of clubs. All this can be very expensive.

Here in Thailand they have a very good system of encouraging youngsters to take up the game and big businesses are also helping too.

Singha and Chang both run academies where kids are groomed to eventually follow in the footsteps of the Thai legend Thongchai Jaidee.

Thongchai even has set up his own golf academy in Thailand to train girls and boys.

True Vision is another Thai company supporting golf. In fact there is still time to enrol junior golfers to compete in their 10th True Visions International Junior Golf Championships 2011   It's taking place at the end of March 2011 at Rayong Green Valley Country Club, &  St. Andrews 2000.   

Greg Norman and Gary Player are two legends of the game who have also called for a shift in the mindset of the golfing industry.

A longtime advocate of junior golf, Norman said: "We have to get more players into the game and be increasingly creative in the ways to attract them. Golf has to become more accessible and affordable. It has to open up."

One of the most active golf course architects in the region with ongoing projects in China and Vietnam, Norman said there is a need to "think outside the box" when it comes to golf facilities.

He cited a 12-hole course he has designed in South America as a potential model for Asia. "There's nothing to say that a golf course has to be 18 holes. Why shouldn't 12-hole courses be successful in Asia?" said Norman, adding that such facilities would encourage more people to participate and also would take less time to play.

Norman's concerns about the lack of newcomers entering the game also were voiced by Gary Player, who agreed that kids were too concerned with computer games, when they should be out there playing a sport. He thinks golf clubs should encourage more school visits during their quieter periods during the week. Give the kids a chance to hit the ball and maybe some will be hooked on the game.

 

Mike Bridge    Editor Thai Golf News

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