Dubai: Snag (Starting New At Golf), a junior golf development programme is spreading around the world at a tremendous pace unearthing talent and improving the standard of the game. Terry Anton, a former PGA Tour player, who developed this programme, is confident that it will soon produce outstanding golfers.
Anton, who is popularly know as Snag Daddy was in Dubai recently to meet UAE's based Evolution Corp, which has embarked on this programme to spread the game at the grass root level.
In an exclusive interview to Gulf News recently, Anton spoke about the rise of this programme and the scope ahead for the lovers of golf in UAE.
"The exit interviews of golfers who did not stay long in the game revealed that they did not learn the game well and that it was too difficult for them to practice at a golf facility. So we needed to find a way to standardise instructions for beginners by creating the best learning programme possible," remarked Anton, who ran a company that designs, builds and operates golf courses.
"My background in golf was complete in understanding all the aspects of what will comprise a good programme. I wanted to remove the geographic and demographic barriers that prevented people from learning and playing golf and hence searched for a solution to accomplish it," he added.
Anton had to look outside golf for a solution. "I looked at the computer industry and realised that before Apple came out with the mouse those who used computers were left brained and analytical in their approach. One had to understand all the commands to use a computer.
"Most of the people are right brained and so when the mouse emerged then computer became a user friendly input device. So we thought as to how can we integrate hardware and software like Apple did into our equipment and make the learning process of golf easy."
Anton began his attempt along with another PGA player Wally Amstrong. "The first time we did it was when we got a phone call asking to help a group of 12 children in Orlando who were blind. As golf professional I was challenged and was forced to take away three words out of my instruction vocabulary — that is look, watch and see. They could not do all three and it is there that I realised that we have to create something that integrates sound and touch outside the visual component of golf."
Anton believes that learning golf the right away is of paramount importance. "Understanding the basics and fundamentals of golf is everything. Right now, probably less than one in ten learn to play from golf professionals. Over 90 per cent of the people learn bad habits either from friends or neighbours who do not know much about the game. It takes years or decades to unwind these bad habits. If a feeder system, starting with schools at very early age on the right way to do things from the beginning is created, then no one will ever have to go through the anguish which many of us had gone through in learning to play the game the right way," he said.
Today Snag has spread to 5,000 schools in the US and 1,000 schools in Japan and Scotland.
"We are in places like China, Korea and Taiwan and Trinidad and Tobago. We are really finding places in pockets around the world where the adults are seeing the benefits for the kids and kids are falling in love with it," said Anton, who believes that Snag can accelerate the spreading of the game in UAE as people are keen about golf with more golf courses being developed.
To join Snag, contact, Evolution Corp on 04-3980274. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org