This week our Q&A features Paul and Katie from Sharp Shooters in Hertfordshire. Sharp Shooters is one of the largest academies in the UK, providing lessons to almost 200 junior golfers.
Tell us about yourselves!
I started golf when I was just 6 years old and have played golf ever since. I played to a handicap of +2 before turning professional and love coaching juniors. Katie and I met 7 yeas ago and she has emerged herself into the golfing world. She is not only a great junior coach but also takes care of a lot of the business structure.
What are your first golfing memories?
Paul – As a child, I remember going over to the local park to hit golf balls with my mum, and my dad would take me round the course with him. The first professional I saw in person was Gary Player and I was just in awe.
Katie – One of my best golfing memories was attending the 2018 Ryder Cup in France, where Europe won. The atmosphere was electric!
How did you both get into golf?
Paul – My dad got me into golf as he was a member of Boyce Hill Golf Club in Essex.
Katie – I had my first golf lesson with Paul 7 years ago.
How have you adapted with lockdown and golf in the last 12 months?
It has been tough and challenging, as it has been for everybody. Our priority over the last year has been making sure our clients, the juniors and adults, have still been able to have their golf lessons through zoom. It has been truly inspiring to see how the kids have reacted to, and still developed with, their golf over the last year.
In September 2020, the Sharp Shooters moved to Ash Valley Golf Club. What was the motivation for this move and how has it helped the academy?
Ash Valley has got a championship 18-hole course, 9-hole par 3 course and floodlit driving range, what more could we ask for! Looking at the development of junior golfers, we wanted to ensure that the environment would encourage them to get out on the course and play as much as possible.
What are Sharp Shooters plans for 2021?
2021 will be a busy and exciting year for us. We are planning to reach out to local schools again and continue to build our strong relationships with them. We also have a number of competitions lined up for junior golfers this year, such as the Golf Sixes, Ryder Cup PlayDay, USKids PlayDay, to name a few. Sharp Shooters want to make this a year to remember.
What advice would you give to parents who have children playing or showing an interest in golf?
Look for a junior golf coach or academy as they will be able to provide the right environment, competitions and support for the child’s development and continued enjoyment in golf for years to come.
Before a child sees a coach, what three tips would you give?
Have a go! There’s no right or wrong way to start, and if they are enjoying how they perceive golf, let them carry on down that path.
Working with children presents a unique challenge. How do you approach coaching with different ages and ability levels?
We make a connection via their interests outside of golf, their personality and goals. We then build on this.
What is the best thing about coaching juniors?
The best thing about coaching junior golfers, is seeing them progress and making the most of their golf over a number of years.
Who would be your dream Four-ball?
Tiger Woods, Seve Ballesteros and Arnold Palmer.
Where can we find you?
Sharp Shooters Junior Golf Academy – Ash Valley Golf Club, Hertfordshire
Thanks so much for your time Paul and Kate. We wish you continued success with your academy and look forward to visiting you in the Summer.