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Golf for beginners;The Evening Class

A dozen adults are sitting on a bench in a sports hall. Some are wearing new-looking trainers, others have their own clubs. But they all share something in common - they can't play golf, or at least not very well.

Not all are complete beginners. Some have tried lessons; one has even played a game on a real course; another admits that he has been enrolled by his wife who wants him "out of her hair".

The purpose of this course is to give players enough confidence and skill to play a round without embarrassment. The tutor, Jonathan Dove, is the pro from nearby Fairhaven Golf Club in Lytham.

He begins by warning of the dangers. Dangers? Careless swings cost lives, he says, and points to the first-aid kit for emphasis. From there, he moves to the crucial first step. How do you hold your club? The adults practise, twining their fingers, which have turned into bananas by this time, round their clubs.

The next step is stand, aim and swing. A dozen clubs take to the air before coming back to land again, as if engaged in some bizarre mating ritual. Those with a bit more experience have the upper hand here and make some professional-looking swipes at invisible balls.

After 20 minutes, it's time to hit a ball in a straight line. As you will guess, this proves far easier said than done. Balls fly in all directions, if they are hit at all.

"Frustration is all part of it," says Simon Routledge, who is taking up golf "so I have something to do when I'm 40 and arthritic".

As the evening progresses things appear to get worse rather than better. But the beginners are told that "one good ball makes up for the 10 bad ones". Still, after an hour and half of exertion, Jonathan calls it a day. After just one session, everyone can now talk a great game. Where is the 19th hole in Kirkham, by the way?

This class took place at Carr Hill High School, Kirkham, Lancashire. Ring Blackpool and The Fylde College for details: 01253 352352 ext 5005

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