The challenges facing young golfers – Feature on our current teaching pro Benjamin Schrevel
A recent report has showed that the number of people playing golf has decreased in the last decade with golfers switching to other sports such as cycling and swimming.
At 15-years-old our very own Training Professional Benjamin Screvel had his own aspirations of becoming a full time golfer.
“It’s what I always aspired to be. My Dad was golf pro and it’s something I’ve always been passionate about. I always knew my future was in golf.”
Now 20, Ben is a full time member of the Dukes Meadows golf team whilst training to become a PGA coach. His dreams of becoming a golfer didn’t quite pan out but his journey is an interesting one.
Ben first got into golf around the age of 7. He would visit the range with his Dad and Brother but it wasn’t until he was12 that things started to get serious.
“In the summer holidays of my first year at secondary school all I can remember was playing golf. That year we didn’t go on a family holiday and I started going regularly to play at a course, some days I would even play 18 holes. Then it moved on to group lessons and then private coaching – before I knew it I was addicted!”
As he got older Ben began to struggle to manage his studies with playing golf. He was now playing to a very competitive standard but having to juggle it in between his GCSE’s.
“At times it was very difficult, I was playing golf every Saturday and every Sunday then a couple times a week and studying for 10 exams – it was a struggle but I understood that to make it I had to put in the hard miles. Nowadays many young players stop their education in order to pursue a career in golf. It’s not something I totally agree with but can certainly see why they do – it’s a lot of pressure.”
Ben’s practice regime continued when he went onto study sports science at Richmond College while also travelling up and down the country playing for the college golf team.
Golf and education were the two main focus objectives for Ben until he finished college and decided to pursue his life time ambition of becoming a full time golfer. This was the first time he could solely focus on golf and like so many young golfers his progress was hindered by the financial strains that playing sport competitively brings.
“I was playing a lot of golf but not making any money. I couldn’t afford to turn pro – it would have meant paying hundreds in entrance fees and £1500 on qualifying school. I carried on playing amateur tournaments but there were no real financial rewards in that, just points and discounts to play at courses.”
In retrospect Ben feels he didn’t get himself out there enough for getting sponsorship despite having impressive results at amateur level. He does feel that money can influence your success in the game.
“I don’t want to say that those who make it in golf only do because of the financial state of their parents – if you make it you have undoubtedly put the effort in and have the quality! However golf is an expensive sport and many potential top players have to turn away from the game because they can no longer afford it.”
Ben competed on the circuit for ten months; taking up a bar job to supplement his travel and tournament entries but he eventually accepted that he had hit a dead end in his quest to become a full time professional golfer.
After a short break from the game, Ben began working at Dukes Meadows, in the retail shop and also as a trainee coach playing a major role in our sports camps.
Whilst not managing to fulfil his dream of becoming a full time golfer he’s still delighted that his future will no doubt be dedicated to the game he loves.
“I can’t really imagine doing anything else! I really like it at Dukes Meadows and have enjoyed coaching the juniors. This summer I will also move on to coaching some adults and that’s something I’m really looking forward to.”
Ben is concerned about the declining rate of people playing golf and said juniors need to be targeted in order to keep the game alive.
“I think a lot needs to be done at youth level. Something Rory Mcilroy touched on was shorter games to begin with and I completely agree. That’s why Dukes Meadows is a great setup for youngsters due to the 9 and 5 hole courses we have. I also think it could be done more at school in a fun way using plastic clubs and golf nets in some PE lessons. Something needs to be done because golf is a wonderful sport and it’s sad to people turning away.
Ben is available for private lessons every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for juniors and from April adults. As he is a training professional his rates are £13 for half an hour and £26 for an hour. Please call the Retail shop on 0208 994 3314 option 2 to book a lesson with Ben or any of our other 11 teaching pros.