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Poise ... Visiting golf professional Mike Henderson, formerly of Dunedin, checks the progress of Mataura School pupil Ruby Tuuta (9) as she takes a swing during a golf lesson at the school last week. Ruby said she liked golf because she was able to hit the ball. "I'm going to work on getting it further and to get the technique right." PHOTO: SANDY EGGLESTON

Mataura School pupils had the chance to gain some tips on how to play golf last week when golf professional Mike Henderson visited the school.

Originally from Dunedin, Henderson, who has been teaching people how to play golf for more than 40 years, spent Thursday and Friday at the school sharing his knowledge with pupils.

Henderson said he completed a golf professional apprenticeship at the Otago Golf Club when he first left school, and for the past 10 years had travelled the world teaching golf.

“I’ve been a golf gypsy for a lot of years.”

Each year he spends three months in New Zealand, five months at a golf club in Norway and the rest of the time at a university in China.

He did not make the kind of money someone like professional golfer Lydia Ko did.

“I make money out of working in golf.”

He once had plans of playing professionally.

“When I started I thought I’d be a champion player, but that hasn’t come to be the case.

“I keep trying though – as long as you can walk you can play.”

He really enjoyed teaching the children.

“It’s fantastic.

“I’ve done a little bit of that over the years and it’s probably the most fun.”

Mataura School principal Susan Dennison said from her perspective the golf tuition was a great learning experience for the children.

“He’s a positive role model with an interesting story and our kids love sports.

“They thrive on the opportunity to have a great sporting experience.”

A mutual friend paid for him to teach golf at the school, so it was free of charge for the pupils, she said.

This was the second time he had visited in the past four years.