Sidmouth Golf Club’s 2024 Academy for aspiring golfers gets under way next month and if you’ve always wanted to give the game a go, it’s not too late to sign up!

Combining tuition from Professional Golfers Association coach Duncan Arnold with actual playing experience, the three-month programme is ideal for anyone wanting to learn the fundamentals of the game.

East Devon residents Claire Blackwell and her husband Gary were amongst the participants in last year’s academy and both have nothing but good things to say about it. “We thoroughly enjoyed the academy,” said Gary, who had played a few rounds of golf some 10 to 15 years ago but, having retired, was keen to start playing rather more regularly.

“Duncan, the golf professional, is a great teacher. He’s patient, able to instil confidence in beginners such as myself, and inspires you to want to get out there and play,” enthused Claire, who recalled that she had a few lessons ‘about 30 years ago’ but never made it out on to the course.

“Gary was keen to start playing golf again and thought it might be nice if it was something we both did,” explained Claire. “At that point, while I was more than happy to give it a go, I wasn’t entirely sure it would be for me.

“In the first instance, we were a bit nervous about people seeing how bad we were, but we needn’t have worried because almost everyone was at a similar level and, what’s more, Duncan and the academy lead Lester made sure everyone felt comfortable.

“We were concerned that a golf club might be a bit stuffy, but not a bit of it – Sidmouth has a friendly, family-type atmosphere and all the people we’ve met have been great. It’s been as much about the social aspect as competitive golf for Gary and I. We love it,” enthused Claire.

Academy graduates are able to take advantage of significantly reduced membership rates for both the remainder of the year in which they enrol, and the following one.

Academy membership is limited to just 40 individuals [with tuition taking place in groups of eight] and costs just £135. The golf club will provide all the equipment – all you need are some comfortable clothes and trainers!

For more information, contact 01395 513451 or email

Sidmouth Herald: Sidmouth first hole