England’s first pay & play TriGolf course opened at Lickey Hills Golf Course in Birmingham recently, by 95- year old Bernard Preston, former golf professional and the oldest PGA member in the country.
Local children enjoyed golf lessons, played the 6-hole course had a bite to eat all for free in the beautifully scenic Lickey Hills Country Park. For most it was the first time they had swung a golf club and all will be returning to try and set the course record. A par 24, 220 metre course with tees, bunkers, scrubs and trees the course has been set-up to provide a good challenge – even mums and dads can have a go. Benches have been provided at every hole for older family members to enjoy a rest whilst the kids enjoy the fun.
The TriGolf course was built following a Sport England Award for All grant of £7,500 to Rose Hill Golf Club. The course is part of Lickey Hills 18-hole golf course, one of Birmingham’s oldest municipal courses, with tennis, bowls, kite flying, pond and nature walks already taking place within the larger country park.
Golf Professional Mark Toombs has seen the golf facility rejuvenated in recent years and comments, “There’s so much going on with weddings at the newly refurbished Old Rose and Crown Hotel, walkers enjoying golf, the lakes and views over Birmingham and now a children’s golf course to support our drive to get more juniors hooked on golf.”
The course is being used by local schools and community groups as part of Birmingham’s Golf Roots programme, a nationwide junior golf activity programme sponsored by The Golf Foundation. The demand for golf by schools has never been higher as golf is being used to teach children many ‘skills-for-life’ such as honesty, respect, co-operation, self –motivation, concentration and perseverance – plus it’s a good walk outdoors with friends and family. There are now seven TriGolf courses located in Birmingham schools and a supervised course was opened at Cocks Moors Woods golf course last year.
Lickey Hills TriGolf course is now open throughout the year, seven days a week and costs £1.20 for children and £1.80 for adults to play. TriGolf plastic golf clubs, foam balls and scorecard are included and available at the golf shop.
Council Golf Manager Peter Howard comments, “To stimulate participation, Birmingham’s challenge is ‘plug the facility gap’ between golf in schools and the full course playing experience.
We have 90 golf courses within a 25-mile radius of the city centre but there are very few short courses and true practice facilities for people to use casually. Surprisingly with a population of a million, there are only four driving ranges within the M5, M6, M42 motorway collar which surrounds the city – a great business opportunity for someone willing to invest.”
Peter adds, “Birmingham’s vision is to be a capital city of golf and to do this it has established the Birmingham Junior Golf Development Partnership to co-ordinate the activities of all the supporting golfing bodies to champion the development of junior golf and to assist in the development of further mini golf courses in parks and open spaces across the city – for the long term benefit of all courses in and around the city.”
Lickey Hills Golf Course www.birmingham.gov.uk/lickeygolf
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