Swingers driving for kiddie SNAG

Local golf is not in the best of
positions at the moment but a new initiative aimed at youngsters should be a
welcome swing forward.

The Cayman Islands Golf Association
has recently purchased two Starting New At Golf golf kits to introduce the
sport to Cayman’s children. The kits are golf teaching programmes designed to introduce
beginners to the fundamentals of golf in a safe and inexpensive way. Each kit
contains specially designed plastic golf clubs, rubber golf balls and various
other teaching accessories and costs around US$2,150. 

Golf association secretary David
Bird states the plan for the kits is to implement them in local schools in the
near future. “We plan to offer the use of the SNAG kits to both primary and
secondary schools here in the Cayman Islands,” Bird said. “It’ll be free of
charge for use in physical education programs. We have received great feedback
from our colleagues at the Trinidad and Tobago Golf Association on the SNAG programme
within their public school system.

“We believe that this is an
excellent way to introduce kids to golf who would otherwise never have the
opportunity to learn the game. As an organisation, we feel that this is an important
investment to continue the development of golf in the Cayman Islands.”

The program has been recognised in
the United States as meeting many of the standards set by the National
Association of Sport and Physical Education for an effective physical education
programme.

Sentiments among the local golf
community in regards to the kits have been positive. Among those in favour of
the new endeavour is top male golfer Joel Dodson. The KPMG accountant, who
doubles as the treasurer of the golf association, states the kits can keep
positive vibes around the sport.

“With the kits they’ve been used in
Trinidad and Barbados and it’s a big success,” Dodson said. “It’s important to
get the kids playing. That is how golf will continue here; by introducing it to
the schools. That’s how Johnny and Samantha Widmer started when they were
really young.”

News of the kits comes during a
relatively down time for the sport. The home of local golf, the North Sound
Golf Club, is drawing closer to being closed with the development of the
Ritz-Carlton’s Blue Tip course. In addition the junior golf program did not
start up as expected this fall and national team coach Kevin Mumford unexpectedly
left Cayman.

Golf association president Judy Van
Liere states the implementation of the new kits is a challenge. “It’s a work in
progress starting SNAG in all of the schools and introducing them to golf,” Van
Liere said. “It’s been extra difficult as well with the uncertainty around the
golf club. We initially planned to start it this September. At this point all I
can tell you is it’s moving forward.

“Aside from the SNAG kits the other
news in the association is the last event of the year and the annual general
meeting take place next month. The association’s pairs event is slated for
Saturday 13 November at the North Sound Golf Club with the AGM taking place at
the same venue on the same day.”