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|Pykamo golf clubs are light, safe, and designed to promote sound fundamentals. (Courtesy of Pykamo)|
There is only one way to grow golf: get kids interested in it.
But there are serious impediments to introducing kids to golf: It's expensive to play, the equipment is costly, beginners are intimidated on real courses, metal clubs and real balls are dangerous, it's not a sport generally taught in physical education classes -- the list goes on and on.
A French-Canadian company, Pykamo, seeks to overcome these obstacles to growing the game. Pykamo was founded by Maurice Duhamel in 2008. Duhamel, a PGA-certified golf instructor who has taught the game in Europe and Canada, designed high-quality plastic clubs and foam balls 2.5 inches in diameter that spin and behave like real balls when struck or putted.
The clubs are coated in elastomer to reduce danger from getting hit with one, and the balls are soft enough to cause no harm whatsoever, even on a direct accidental hit.
"There was nothing to teach golf in physical education classes," explained Duhamel, "except sometimes some old balls and metal clubs. And no one wanted to use those."
Duhamel also designed a set of accessories, including tee stands, hole-like targets and a book of dozens of games that kids (and adults) can play while working on fundamental golf skills. The shafts/grips of the Pykamo clubs are triangular, and thus naturally promote a sound grip and an on-plane swing path.
"You can play with these anywhere," said Duhamel. "On the beach, in a park, in your house, even."
Pykamo was an exhibitor for the first time at the 2013 PGA Merchandise Show and was well received. I demonstrated the Pykamo club and balls for a PGA instructor known for working with players such as Phil Mickelson, Paul Azinger and Lee Janzen. He was impressed.
"Those are as safe as you can make golf equipment," he said. "You won't hurt anyone with those balls. And that grip is interesting. It really makes you put your hands in the right position."
Pykamo sells everything from large sets to individual clubs. "So far," said Duhamel, with an appropriate amount of pride, "we have put golf equipment in over 400 schools throughout North America."
That number equates to a lot of kids exposed to golf who might, someday, decide they'd like to give the real thing a try.
For more information, visit www.pykamo.com.
February 25, 2013
Kiel Christianson has lived, worked, traveled and golfed extensively on three continents. As senior writer and equipment editor for WorldGolf.com, he has reviewed courses, resorts, and golf academies from California to Ireland, including his home course, Lake of the Woods G.C. in Mahomet, Ill. Read his golf blog here and follow him on Twitter @GolfWriterKiel.
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