Jason Avery’s drive to get Cornwall’s kids into golf by letting them experience the game during school time has resulted in pupils referring to him as The Golf Man, writes Adrian Milledge.
Avery is a PGA Professional at St Mellion International Resort in Cornwall and his get into golf sessions have made him a familiar figure at schools in the area.
“School sport tends to involve football and rugby,” he explained. “Golf is an alternative sport so unless you go in and make the effort, the kids aren’t going to know if they like it or are actually quite good at it.
“So I go into schools to give the pupils an introduction to golf and the next step is to offer each one a free golf lesson at St Mellion. I work closely with the Golf Foundation and we’re trying to build pathways.”
He conducts the sessions at both primary and secondary schools and has learned that the most receptive pupils are the younger ones.
“We get more follow-ups from primary school pupils than we do secondary ones,” he adds.
“I think that’s purely because of the age – we introduce the younger ones to the game with Tri Golf and they really grasp it.
“As far as secondary schools are concerned – I send out a leaflet inviting parents to come along – that helps because it’s more family based.
“In fairness, the numbers aren’t fantastic – it’s more like a drip feed really. But you keep going in and they say ‘ah the Golf Man’s back.”
The drip feed effect has resulted in the junior section at St Mellion being almost 40-strong and Avery added: “It’s not a huge number, but we have to mindful of the demand for tee times because it’s a resort course.
“We have tee times every weekend but it’s only a small amount because we’re very busy.”
In addition to playing at home, the youngsters get regular tastes of competitive golf, albeit at clubs some distance away.
“Our nearest two active sections playing in competitions are Bude and the Point at Polzeath,” Avery explained.
“They’re a fair distance away but luckily our parents are really passionate about taking the juniors to these venues and playing against them.”
As for his nickname, Avery added: “I’m happy being called that because it sticks in their minds. That’s a good thing for us.”