The PGA Professionals on why golf is great for families

Wellness, Culture

An exhilarating game of concentration and technique, golf is as enthralling for children as it is for adults, making it a great bonding activity for families. We spoke to two of Verdura Resort’s senior professionals about why golfers of all ages and abilities shouldn’t miss an opportunity to play on its state-of-the-art courses.

British PGA-qualified Tom Foster is Verdura Resort’s Director of Instruction. He discovered golf aged 14 and turned pro four years later. He has played at and managed innumerable courses around the world, including York, Torino and the Côte d’Azur, and has been with Verdura Resort since 2016.

How do you introduce absolute beginners to the game?

“It sounds obvious, but golf should be played on the course, not on the driving range. Within a few sessions, pretty much all our beginners get out on the course to play and understand what this sport is actually about. Technically speaking, our beginner coaching works in reverse. We start off at the green and then work back to the tee, covering all the shots required in between.”

Can couples take private lessons together?

“Yes – we get a lot of couples coming for lessons, from total beginners wanting to take up a sport together to confirmed couples wanting to help each other improve.”

You’ve recently installed new technology at the Performance Institute. How is this helping experienced golfers improve?

“Golfers are probably some of the most curious sports enthusiasts there are. They absolutely must experience any new equipment or technologies that can help them knock a couple of shots off their handicap!

Here at our indoor institute, players can use these technologies to improve their balance during the swing, understand and correct the differences between club motion and ball flight as well as seeing pin-pointed biomechanical data of their body during play.

Later this year, with the validation of the European Tour Performance Institute, we are initiating protocols to further match the player’s unique physiology and capabilities with their individual swing.”

How would you describe Verdura’s 18-hole courses?

“Obviously, our courses are both unique but having been designed by the same world–renowned architect and built on the same stretch of Sicilian coast, there’s a similar style to them. Both have a very distinct ‘linksy’ feel and when the wind blows, the golfers never have a boring moment!”

Junior Golf Co-ordinator at Verdura Resort, Giacomo Dovetta turned pro in 2008. He pursued his passion for nurturing young talent as a certified coach with US Kids Golf and SNAG. In 2017, Giacomo was selected as one of the Top 50 US Kids Coaches of the Year and also became Trackman certified and European Tour approved.

How did you begin working with Verdura Resort?

“In late 2016, a friend called me in Portugal to ask if I’d be interested in working in the Verdura Resort team taking care of the Junior Academy and kids’ coaching. The answer was easy: I joined him in 2017 and I’m the happiest golf Pro on earth!”

Tell us more about golf for children…

“We do private lessons, but also group lessons, which serve several purposes: kids make friends, master the game and, most importantly, often continue to play golf together abroad.

We also have the The Junior Golf Academy. During these group sessions I introduce children to the basics (grip, set-up and swing) of all the techniques of the game: long game, short game, bunker shots, putting, etc. We practise for two days on the driving range, then base play around the course.”

What do children usually enjoy most about golf?

“Kids love hitting the driver; putting is probably the least favourite! Other than the sport itself, kids love driving our golf buggies! But they have to earn it. I let them drive (under supervision and control) to reward them when they try hard.”

What are the benefits of golf for children?

“Golf is a unique sport because it has a multitude of rules they have to follow; they have to behave well, respect the course and their playing partners. Perhaps the most important benefit, however, is that they’ll make beautiful memories with their parents and play as a family for the rest of their lives.”

What is your favourite part of your job?

“Seeing kids’ smiling faces when they hole a putt, or seeing them surprised when they hit a high, straight and long shot with their driver.”

To book your stay at Verdura Resort, email reservations.verdura@roccofortehotels.com or call +39 06 32 888 630.

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