Nick Westby: Pearson to roll out his junior golf schem

Jonathan Pearson, JP Junior Golf

Jonathan Pearson, JP Junior Golf

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Are you a kid who watched the Masters last weekend and fell in love with golf?

Do you want to find out where to play with no strings attached; no handicap needed, no membership?

Well, a training professional from Leeds has set up the JP Junior Golf Tour which has four events across the city this summer, that is open to juniors who just want to come and play.

Jonathan Pearson, 32, piloted the programme at Cookridge Hall last year, where he works as a PGA coach.

Initially aimed at local children he teaches those who have no membership at any club, he is hoping now to branch it out this season with events across Leeds.

“With four or five events this year it’s going to be a tipping point,” said Pearson, who hopes to make the initiative county-wide in the future.

“We had 350 kids come along last and of those 20 per cent signed up as members.

“On the back of that I’d like to spread that around the city.

“I’ve had people interested from York, Hull, across Yorshire.

“Last year we had kids coming to play at Cookridge from Skipton and Sheffield.

“Some of them were driving past 20 golf clubs to get to us.”

The JP Junior Golf Tour works like this.

Kids of any age – “We have some as young as three,” adds Pearson – sign up for a lesson and then play golf on an appropriate-sized golf course.

If a child can hit the ball 150 yards then they will play each hole from 150 yards in; a youngster who can hit the ball 250 yards plays from 250 yards and in, and so on.

They only play eight holes – an odd number in golfing terminology – but it works.

“There’s nothing out there like this for kids,” continues Pearson.

“If you’re a golfer with a handicap you get catered for, but if not, you sometimes don’t.

“Kids usually go to a weekly lesson and return the following week having not played golf.

“Imagine doing that in football, where you train on a Wednesday night but don’t have a game on a Saturday or Sunday.

“This is different, it is total grassroots golf.

“You get a lesson and then you get the chance to put that into practice with these tournaments.”

Children are accompanied by an adult when they play the courses and there is no dress code.

The launch event for the 2015 Leeds tour is at Cookridge Hall on Sunday, May 27.

Other events are scheduled through summer for the nine-hole course at Brandon, and clubs like Howley Hall and Moor Allerton.

“I believe PGA professionals who coach children will have the opportunity to see their young golfers play this great game, meet other children and hopefully increase the chances of junior golfers joining the golf club and spreading the word about our great game,” added Pearson. The JP Junior Golf Series will be fully endorsed and promoted by the Regional Development Officers responsible for grass roots development and retention going forward.

For more details and to get involved email info@jpjuniorgolf.com or visit the website www.jpjuniorgolf.co.uk

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