Pupils tee up for new challenge

Last updated 05:00 22/11/2012
Paul Martin
CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ
STARTING YOUNG: Midhirst Primary School pupils learn how to hit the ball off the tee from former Taranaki representative Paul Martin at Stratford Golf Course.

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Hundreds of Taranaki primary school children are getting to grips with the basics of golf.

The Kiwi Golf programme is being run by former Taranaki representative Paul Martin.

"It's about trying to get children to like the game," he said yesterday as he put a couple of dozen Midhirst Primary School pupils through their paces.

After lessons at their school, pupils go to a golf course where they get more tips on teeing off, chipping and putting.

"We're trying to get around all the schools," Martin said.

"While we're just going to primary schools at the moment, we are trying to get into high schools as well. A lot of the kids have never picked up a club before, so we try and teach them how to hit a golf ball."

Judging by the reaction of the youngsters at the Stratford course yesterday, there is no shortage of enthusiasm, especially when they get it right. The school is charged $2 for the opportunity, with Martin saying the response has been extremely positive.

Martin, who recently returned from coaching rugby in Italy, said he was getting just as much of a thrill from seeing the reaction of the children when they got it right as he had coaching any sport.

"It's amazing how many children, when you ask them, just fall in love with playing golf just from this.

"There are two students here who were crook but came to school just because they knew they were playing golf."

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