NORTHAMPTONSHIRE GOLF DEVELOPMENT GROUP
Posted: Thu, 27 Oct 2016 10:19
FOLLOWERS of a blog dedicated to making the most of life in the countryside have discovered how golf is a great way to boost health and happiness.
A group from Muddy Northants took part in a Get into golf taster day at Rushden Golf Club and are now urging others to make the leap from "couch potato to golfer!"
Muddy Stilettos was started by national journalist Hero Brown in 2011 after she quit London and moved to the countryside. Her urban guide to the countryside lifestyle-blog is now a successful business and has moved into nine further counties with more to follow in 2017.
The Muddys Northants trio tried their hand at golf at Rushden with PGA professional Adrian Clifford, who has been teaching golf since 1976 and gave Olympian Charley Hill lessons when she was a child.
Anna-Lou Dearden, a mum of two from Hatton Park in Wellingborough, explains how the day went, how it dispelled a few golfing myths and why it was such a success.
She says: "Adrian chatted us through some basics and told us not to worry about anything because golf is an adaptable game that suits all – whatever your age, gender, fitness level or ability. To be honest, he was very complimentary about our first swings even if mine did unearth quite a bit of grass!
"We learned how to whack the ball on the range first and all of us sent it much further than we thought we would (when we actually hit it).
"It is great being in the countryside with no pinging emails or kids asking for snacks, and all three of us loved the freedom. We still had time to chat between swings.
"The feel when you hit a ball in a good place, with a good swing, is amazing. I could see it could become addictive."
As well as trying the longer shots, the group got to work on the putting green, too.
Anna-Lou, who is editor of Muddy Stilettos Northants, says: "Putting is a different skill altogether, a bit like snooker on the ground. Adrian did little games to build up our skills and confidence which made it enjoyable. It was fab watching the ladies concentrating and whooping when they hit it in the hole, and yes, there was a certain level of competitiveness going on - all healthy though!"
The group found the social side of the sport equally as important as being out on the course, while the reality proved very different to the stereotypes that have grown up around golf.
Anna-Lou, who is 42, says: "It's not all swing and balls though, like après ski there is such a thing as après golf. Most golf courses have a clubhouse that serves food and drink so you can make a full day of it.
"Having never tried it before, I do think golf is a pretty good path towards health and happiness. It's perfect for keeping you active while spending time with friends and it's good to make connections that aren't just in the pub. Adrian told us that it creates networks that will bring life-long friendships. 'But how do I go about visiting a golf club?' I hear you cry. 'It's all members and retired businessmen.' Well, not anymore it's not. At Rushden there are lots of women who play: young and old, freelance and shift workers who can get out in the week or busy professionals who can get out at the weekend.
"Try a taster course yourself and make the transition from couch potato to golfer."
David Davis, county development officer for the Northamptonshire Golf Development Group, says: "Working with groups like Muddys gives us a great opportunity to introduce more women to golf - and once they have given it a go, they find that they love it!"
Get into golf is a national campaign to inspire new golfers run by the England Golf Partnership through its network of Golf Development Groups, which work to grow the game.
Get into golf opportunities include free or low-cost beginner courses with PGA professionals. They are a fun and sociable way to start golf – and a great way to make new friends.
To find your nearest centre visit getintogolf.org and look at the activity map or call 0800 118 2766
CAPTION: Rushden Golf Club professional Adrian Clifford with Muddys Northants Editor Anna-Lou Dearden, who is urging others to make the leap from "couch potato to golfer!"