A St Albans golf club has teed off with a new initiative to get youngsters playing the sport.

Batchwood Golf and Sports Centre has signed up to a pair of nationwide programmes aimed at increasing participation among five to 14 year olds.

'Girls golf rocks' and 'Get into golf rookies' are both run by Golf England with the aim of encouraging children, particularly girls, to try out the game.

Golf lags behind other sports when it comes to youth uptake, with one of the main barriers being the perception of the game as elitist and expensive.

James Blake is a Professional Golf Association (PGA) coach working at Batchwood.

He said: "There have always been a lot of obstacles to children learning golf.

"But we wanted to eliminate those and get youngsters enjoying the game, like they would football, or tennis. And so you can just come along to these sessions and get involved like you would with any other sport."

More than 200 children have already attended the sessions.More than 200 children have already attended the sessions. (Image: Loudbird PR)

The new sessions for children have already begun, running on Thursday evenings and at weekends.

Attendees don't have to bring any equipment, nor do they have to be a member of the club.

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James says that golf is "a brilliant sport for lots of different reasons", pointing to its multi-generational nature, health benefits and the friendships that can be forged by playing.

Among his coaching accomplishments to date are training England squad player Sophia Fullbrook, who also backed the initiative, saying: "I think the earlier you start the easier it will be to do things more naturally, like learning a language, you just learn it and don't really think about it."

Throughout the summer holidays James will be running summer camps at Batchwood, with sessions running most afternoons in July and August.

These summer camps will cost £20, with the regular weekly sessions costing £10.