A thriving South Lakeland golf club has been selected to offer special courses aimed at getting more girls playing golf run by PGA Trainee Pro Ellie Broome.

Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club successfully applied to England Golf to run its Girls Golf Rocks courses. Girls Golf Rocks encourages beginner girls aged from five to 18 to learn and play golf in a fun and friendly way.

Nine girls, including one as young as six, have just started the first six-week course at the club and others are signed up for a second course starting in September.

We hear from Kirkby Lonsdale’s PGA Trainee Professional 22-year-old Ellie Broome, who is running the courses, and Vice-Captain Graham Bywater about why being selected was such great news for the club and has helped to raise their profile nationally.

Tell us more about the Girls Golf Rocks programme.

Ellie: The girls will be learning about golf through fun games and activities, during six one-hour sessions spread over six weeks. They will be learning about all aspects of golf, including putting, chipping and full swing using irons and drivers. The final week will see them go out on to our six-hole academy course, whose holes are all under 100 yards.

It’s great for girls because it shows them that there are other girls out there who want to play golf and that the sport is not just for boys.

The course is only £35 and girls taking part receive a Girls Golf Rocks goody bag containing a polo shirt and water bottle. The club receives a payment for each girl taking part.

How does the application process work to secure Girls Golf Rocks funding?

Ellie: To win approval to run the courses, I had to complete an extensive application form, which sought evidence about what the club did for its juniors and how the club planned to integrate participants into the club after the course ended.

I was able to show how I set up a junior academy for under 18s at Kirkby Lonsdale in June 2020. I also run several weekly sessions for youngsters of different ages and abilities and also organise junior coaching camps during school holidays.

How has junior golf grown at Kirby Lonsdale?

Ellie: Prior to the courses there were only a couple of junior members at the club, but now there are more than 80 juniors, from the South Lakeland, north Lancashire and North Yorkshire area.

Ellie Broome Girls Golf Rocks

How did you get into golf?

Ellie: I first started playing golf aged six, after watching my dad and grandad play. I joined the club at 11-years-old and got my first handicap two years later. I played and practised and within a couple of years I was down to scratch. I just love the idea of always trying to get better.

When I was 16, I was both the club’s first female Junior Captain and the youngest-ever winner of the Ladies Club Championship. I still hold the ladies course record at the club with a round of 67 – six under par – having broken the record four times in a single month!

I played junior golf at international level and represented Cumbria with distinction at both junior and senior level and captained the Cumbria Junior Team in 2016.

When did you turn pro?

Ellie: I turned pro in 2018 when I was 19, partly because I could start my PGA training. I have just finished my third year of the training, which covers everything from coaching, business, custom fitting, club repairs and sports science and equips me with the choice of which aspect of the golf industry attracts me most.

I love the idea of coaching. I love being able to help someone to do something they have been struggling with and therefore enjoy the game even more.

What other beginner courses do you run?

Ellie: I set up ‘Get into Golf’ sessions for ladies in May and these have attracted 32 new ladies to play at Kirkby Lonsdale. Their ages range from those in their 20s to retired ladies. A lot of them have been attracted by the fact the courses are run by a female pro.

Ladies completing the course have been offered academy membership for the summer, which gives them access to a practice area and the six-hole academy course. There is the opportunity to progress to the Lune course. This is part of the main course but holes are shorter and do not include the bigger hazards and carries, which makes it more enticing before they go on to the longer main course.

PGA Trainee Professional Ellie Broome

Have you seen an uptake in interest in membership during the pandemic?

Graham: Interest in golf is surging, locally and nationally. The club has seen more than 100 new members join since the start of the year and membership now stands at around 400, including an active and growing group of lady members. There is also a growing number of visitors.

What does Kirkby Lonsdale have to offer?

Graham: The club has great coaching and superb facilities, including a covered driving range, short game practice area, academy course and full course. The quality of the course is one of the big factors in attracting people. The 18-hole course measures 6,594 yards and is laid out in more than 160 acres of spectacular countryside. It provides high-quality greens delivered by a dedicated team of green keepers.

The course is also a haven for wildlife, including roe deer, rabbits, hares, stoats and weasels. There is a heronry and nesting swans, ducks and geese on the lake.

The clubhouse includes a bar and Fairways Restaurant, open to club members and the public. Other facilities include a swing room with launch monitor to track the ball’s launch angle, flight and spin rate and a pro shop selling equipment and clothing.

A variety of membership deals are available but people can book to play even if they are not members.

What do you love most about the club?

Ellie: For me it is about coming full circle. I grew up playing here and to be here coaching is really nice. It is such a family-friendly club, which is very welcoming to people of all abilities.

Kirkby Lonsdale is one of only two clubs in south Cumbria to offer Girls Golf Rocks courses. To register for Girls Golf Rocks courses at Kirkby Lonsdale Golf Club go to https://www.englandgolf.org/girls-golf-rocks/

If anyone would like to book a round or join the club as a member, they should contact the Pro Shop on 015242 76366 or book a tee time on the website https://www.kirkbylonsdalegolfclub.com/