Golf in the city

Golf in the city

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may tse
Golf teacher Iain Roberts (centre) with students Bryant Li Yanqi (left) and Ambrose Tam Zhifeng. Photo: May Tse.

It's hard to get on a course, but there are indoor schools, writes Wong Yat-hei

Golf has become increasingly popular among Hongkongers in recent years. But it is not easy for locals to play. It's a time-consuming sport, and courses are only in the suburbs or on the mainland.

To cater to Hongkongers' packed schedules, indoor golf schools have sprung up.

Former PGA golf professional Iain Roberts has opened one, the Iain Roberts Golf School. He has more than 25 years of experience in teaching golf.

Located in a commercial building in Causeway Bay, the school has two hitting areas and is equipped with the latest video and computer analysis devices. The hitting areas are surrounded by protective nets.

The video and computer analysis allows Roberts to correct and fine-tune posture and technique to the smallest detail, something which is hard to achieve at an outdoor golf course.

'The good thing about learning in an indoor golf school is that the student is entirely focused on the techniques and postures,' he says. 'They are not able to see where their shot goes. This is extra important for young players who are often distracted and disappointed by where their shots go and tend to lose focus on the techniques and posture, which are keys to being a good golfer.'

Roberts recommends that beginners spend at least five hours in an indoor practice ground to work on the basic techniques before heading to a golf course.

For experienced golfers, the indoor school helps take their game to the next level. 'With the video and computer analysis devices here, I am able to look in detail at the strengths and weaknesses of each individual and help them improve their game,' he says.

Roberts says golf is a sport that teaches young people life skills and self-discipline. 'Kids learn to take care of themselves and get along with others through playing golf.

'On the golf course, kids have to be responsible for themselves. They need to make sure they have brought the correct equipment in case it is a sunny or a rainy day.

'They learn to be patient, as they have to stay on the golf course for four to five hours during tournaments. And of course they need to learn to stay still when others are hitting, and play according to the rules.'

Golf is a family game too. 'In golf you can have grandchildren playing with their grandfather,' Roberts says. 'It is a game for three generations to enjoy together.'

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