Rachel Hetherington and her team of young golfers watch on as Noah Pearce hits a long drive.
Rachel Hetherington and her team of young golfers watch on as Noah Pearce hits a long drive. Blainey Woodham

Youngsters tee off with Rachel Hetherington

EIGHTEEN holes of golf will test the patience and attention span of most adults, so you can imagine it might get a little bit old for the average seven or eight year old.

This is the problem many parents encounter when trying to get their kids into the sport, something Rachel Hetherington hopes to change with a new team program that has teed off on the Gold Coast.

Junior League Golf is a concept developed in America, and supported by some of the games greats as a way to allow kids to enjoy the game in a team environment.

Hetherington has entered a team of juniors she coaches into the league which includes teams from Carrara, Royal Pines and the Gold Coast Country Club.

Young players between the ages of seven and 13 are eligible to play in the league.

"The concept comes from a PGA league in the states and the concept before that was developed from Major League baseball," Hetherington said.

"It takes such a long time for a junior to get good enough to even join a club and play competition golf and this is a great way for them to play in a team environment."

"They play two players ambrose in groups of four so for example one player can hit a bad shot and the other hits a nice shot they play off the better shot," she said.

One of the team's older members, 12-year-old Noah Pearce, already enjoys the spoils of victory over his mum who got him into the sport.

"I am pretty sure mum got me into it, I beat her at Chinderah... not long ago which was awesome," Noah says with a wry smile.

Noah's younger sister Lily was excited about the new competition and the prospect of new challenges.

"Playing with different people on different courses is the best bit, the younger players like the sub in and out thing as well," Lily said.

The competition is only played over nine holes and every three holes players can be substituted, allowing for the younger players to have a break.

"We can sub a player in if another wants a break, this works really well for the younger ones if they have a buddy or a mate to play with," Hetherington said.

With modified rules to allow for a variety of skill levels the new concept seems like a great way to keep kids interested in the game, and Hetherington thinks it is set to take off in Australia.

"We have had a great response from parents who want their child to start learning and playing the game," Hetherington said.



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