The Sergio Garcia Junior Golf Academy continues to empower the next generation of Spanish golfers, with more and more juniors taking on the greens and collecting trophies around Catalunya. Leading the project is Head Professional Enric Lopez, who joined PGA Catalunya in 2005 and has since grown the academy following two key objectives: increase the number and quality of junior golfers and introduce more female golfers to the game.
“Our two academies work hand in hand to motivate more people to take on the game”, explains Enric. While the Sergio Garcia Junior Academy focuses on grassroots golf and making sure we do everything to guarantee the future of the game, the PGA Catalunya Golf Academy is working very hard to convert non-golfers into the game. “Female golfers are a particularly interesting group for us. Not only because of the low participation in the game across Europe but mainly because the ladies are a key element in a family. If the wife and/or mother plays, we are almost guaranteed to convert the rest of the family!”
With this in mind, PGA Catalunya Resort’s ladies-only coaching sessions were started in 2012 with a few female golfers. The group has since developed and now has a core of 10 ladies who have improved their handicaps from 30 to between 11 and 26.
“The idea behind the ladies-only lessons was to address some of the specific aspects raised by female golfers, such as flexible playing options, access to facilities and coaching opportunities,” commented Enric.
Juniors require a different approach. Depending on the age, other elements have to be introduced to maintain the students’ interest. “The youngest group, made up of five to 10-year-olds, hardly plays golf at all. In terms of physical development, we simply want to encourage a level of athleticism that will help their golf game as they grow. And we have to make it fun!”
Throughout the summer months, Enric can be seen every morning surrounded by groups of young golfers enjoying the Summer Camps at SGJA “The camps are a great example of how it is possible to make golf fun even for the youngest students”.
Competition is introduced later, when the students are about 10-years-old. “We coach the fundamentals of golf, paying particular attention to the short game – utilising our fantastic short game practice area here at PGA Catalunya Resort”.
“We work on highly technical skills and aim to pass on Golf’s strong values, with the support of the Garcia family”.