THE OTHER SIDE OF GOLF

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Surgeon Nikos Valsamides and shipbroker Minas Sorotos introduce the Performance Academy Golf Education & Simulator (PAGES) to the Greek golfers and pave the way to the new era in golf.

You introduced PAGES at the Glyfada Golf Course, in February 2017. What was the driving idea for introducing the simulator to the golfers?

M.S.: Well, this happened for two main reasons: first, we wanted to drive back golfers in Glyfada Golf Course with the aim to revive its old glorious time by creating a club for those passionate with the sport and second, we so very much wanted to actively contribute in the improvement of golf players’ technique.

So, you wanted to attract golfers by building on the social aspect of the sport, isn’t it right?

N.V.: Exactly. There is no doubt that Glyfada Golf Course had seen better days in the past, when all eminent figures in public life would met in the golf course to play if not to discuss, even under bad weather conditions. Nowadays, the demands of work and the frantic pace of the day to day life prevent mainly amateur golf players from remaining in the course when night is falling or when weather gets worse and this was something that we wanted to radically change. Our aim was to create a meeting point for golfers to hang around with friends, watch important tournaments from all over the world and play golf. That is to say to enjoy an integrated golfing experience.

How about golf sport-wise? What are the benefits of using the simulator?

M.S.: Modern golf training has changed a lot, and golf is now considered to be a purely technical sport. In the past, golf was nothing but a handful of empirical rules that coaches and professional players tried to pass on to those interested, while progress was only possible through taking part in tournaments. As the time went by and with the help of high-resolution and high speed cameras, golf technique was analyzed in detail, that is the degrees, the speed, the swing and even the athlete’s body shape and all these things helped a great deal in both sport development and players’ progress. This analysis in combination with the ability to play golf in large simulated courses from all over the world is what this certain simulator has to offer.

Practically, are there any success stories with PAGES?

N.V.: Of course, yes! This past February, PAGES team headed by Christos Nikopoulos took part in the Mercedes – Benz International Pro – Am Team Golf Tournament in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, and ranked among winners thanks to the training simulation. We are, therefore, more than happy to keep up the good work by also taking part in this year’s Aegean Airlines Pro-Am in Costa Navarino, Greece with a four-member team exclusively trained with the PAGES simulator. Members of this team are Costas Valassakis, Alexandros Filippakis and I, headed again by Christos Nikopoulos.

Would you recommend this simulator to beginner golfers or people not having the first idea of golf?

M.S.: It’s been a couple of months now that we have launched golf training pilot – yet systematic -programs for beginners in cooperation with the professional golfer Christos Nikopoulos and I have to admit that I am impressed of the already strong turnout. Golf training by means of simulators offers many advantages to beginners, given that we are talking about a time and cost saving golf training process freeing beginner golfers from stress of first performance in public. Playing on a golf simulator, an 18 hole round lasts 45 minutes, whereas in real golf courses the same round lasts three to four hours, while it costs ten times less than a lesson with a golf coach in an open field.

Τext: Katerina Papapostolou, Photo: Fotis Traganoudakis

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