A renowned instructor recently praised Cayman’s junior golf scene.
Sean Hogan, who is with the David Leadbetter Golf Academy, was here this month for the second annual Friends Pro-Am Invitational. Dubbed the Audemars Piguet Invitational, the golf tournament took place at the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
Hogan, who worked with youngsters at the North Sound Golf Club, states the foundation looks promising.
“It seems nonstop and Robert Chilman and Jason Deerwester (the North Sound resident instructors) are doing a good job,” Hogan said. “They get 60 kids a week and they’re taking the initiative to grow the game. They have what it takes.
“At North Sound I taught kids aged 8-14. I focused on hand-eye coordination, learning to swing in balance and short game aspects to get them learning the sport quickly. Most of us (adults) played as youngsters and it’s a game for a lifetime. By starting young it allows you to make golf fun. It’s great for kids, as they can learn life lessons and values like good sportsmanship and patience and it gets families together.
“I usually travel to 18/20 tournament events a year and there is a big push now for more junior involvement. It’s great exposure for the game and for the kids.”
The invitational attracted some 12 stars from the European Tour and the Professional Golfers’ Association Tour. Among the visiting pros were Peter Hanson (tournament winner), Kendall Ann Wright, Brian Davis, Thomas Levet, Richard Johnson, Alex Noren, Paige Mackenzie, Greg Owen and Cassandra Marie Blaney.
Aside from the Blue Tip event and junior clinic, the tournament included a celebrity football match with Italian greats Gianfranco Zola, Daniele Massaro and Pierluigi Casiraghi at Camana Bay and a youth football camp with Academy Sports Club at Outpost Field in George Town.
Hogan, 31, was here last Christmas for the first invitational. He states he loved being in Cayman.
“It was great to be in Cayman again. It’s a great time of year to be there. It was a fun event, especially when the wind was blowing. The pros helped the locals with their game and some talented players got to enjoy Cayman.”
Hogan has been teaching golf for nearly two decades. The Dublin, Ireland native has a number of accolades to his name including being named one of the top 20 teachers under age 40 in Florida from 2007 to 2009. After visiting Cayman, Hogan returned to Orlando, Florida to resume his duties at the academy headquarters where he states the focus is on helping amateur golfers.
“I’ve been doing this 17 years. I’m from Ireland and I worked with David Leadbetter in Europe before moving to the US. Now we have over 24 academies worldwide.
“At the academy we teach all ages. While we are known for teaching all the world number ones like Nick Price [who visited Cayman this year for a golf tournament], Nick Faldo and Ernie Els, we primarily help recreational golfers hit better. I’ve taught elite players but they are a small percentage of the clientele.”