An historic private members’ golf club with a link to Augusta National has devised a bold proposal believed to be unique in world golf: it will provide free coaching and free golf for any child - but only if one of the world’s leading golfers opens its new junior coaching facility.
South Moor Golf Club in Durham, which was designed by Dr Alister MacKenzie – who also designed Augusta National, made the proposal after reading comments by Tiger Woods in the Golf Club Managers’ Association’s magazine, Golf Club Management.
Woods called for a policy that’s used by Mission Hills Shenzhen in China, in which the club offers free golf to anyone under 16 on its par-3 course, to be replicated around the world. Mission Hills Shenzhen’s initiative has also been praised by The R&A as an effective way to introduce children to golf.
South Moor has been building Europe’s largest artificial short game area, at 1,500 sq mt, which will be used for junior coaching and will be accessible to the general public, for the last two years after it obtained funding from Sport England’s Inspired Facilities Fund, and help from local councillors.
Club spokesman Guy Carr said he will allow any child to use it for free if one of the world’s top 20 opens the facility.
“If Tiger Woods thinks juniors should get free golf and coaching up to the age of 16, we will quite happily do that,” he said, “…if he, or one of the top 20 golfers in the world, come to open our new facilities.
“It would be great to see a top player put something back into a members’ club - all top golfers have to start somewhere, why not give a little something back?”
Mr Carr said he is keen for South Moor to be seen as one of the world’s best venues for juniors.
The club, which recently reduced its membership costs, is hosting a new under 14 championship this August and is building a par three course which will also act as a starter for beginner golfers.
The club says it hopes to hear from a top golfer shortly.