A GOLF club in Westhoughton is trying to encourage more women to take up the sport. We sent reporter Vickie Scullard to “putt” her to the test.

I HAVE never had a driving ambition to play golf — aside a few goes at pitch and putt.

But when I was invited to learn the basics at Hart Common Golf Club in Westhoughton, I thought I’d give it a whirl to see whether I had missed a calling in sport.

Instructor Kevin Parry, who teaches new players at the club, put me at ease straight away as he explained that, just because I was “petite”, did not mean I would do badly.

“It’s all about control, not just power,” he promised.

First I was taught the most important lesson — how to hold the club (a wedge) and how to stand.

Mr Parry said: “It’s all about the way you position yourself for the shot.

“If you don’t stand correctly and hold the club in the right way then it affects your aim, and ultimately, where the ball lands.”

I linked my first and little finger at the back as I gripped the club, and learned about hingeing my wrist as I swung it upwards.

After pretending to hit some pieces of grass, I was able to use a real ball and was quite surprised that I managed to chip it nicely — although not very far at about 80 yards.

Next I was taken to the beautifully maintained pitch and putt green, which features a number of holes at varying distances from each other.

Typically, just as I’d totally nailed the driving range (sort of), I was told I had to hold the putting club slightly differently than the wedge, with thumbs pointing straight down to the head rather than angling them to the right.

Mr Parry, aged 57, said: “With putting, you have to keep the head as straight as possible and only pull back a few inches otherwise it’ll go on to the fairway.”

He was right, so I adjusted my swing and managed to get two out of four in the hole. Next was the par three course, where I got to use a tee — although I’m not sure whether this helped or hindered me as I kept chipping the top of the ball with my club rather than underneath.

I managed to get a couple very near the hole, though, so far from being “teed off” with my performance, I was told I’d done quite well.

He explained that the club hoped to recruit more women to play.

“For too long golf has been thought of as either a man’s game or something to do when you are retired,” he said. “But on the contrary it’s great fun and fantastic exercise. You can walk for miles on an 18-hole course. We now have a women’s only session which is proving really popular, but more often couples are coming along to enjoy a day out.”

I cannot understand why golf is often thought of as a male sport, because I had a “ball” — and hope that other women take up the opportunity to have one too.

To take advantage of the club’s offer of five beginners’ lessons for £25, call Kevin on 07853 400888.