Swapping footballs for golf balls, the fun and creative game format called ‘StreetGolf’ has wowed young people from all backgrounds this summer, and the StreetGolf ‘Cup Final’ was contested on Thursday (4 June) at the 3 Hammers Golf Complex in Staffordshire.
Young footballers and other sports players have been thinking ‘more McIlroy than Messi’ in recent weeks as they have tried playing StreetGolf in their communities up and down the country, thanks to a partnership between golf charity the Golf Foundation, Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) and Sport England.
The Golf Foundation’s national StreetGolf Club Championship Final was a vibrant and exciting event showing golf in a whole new light to the competitors, where chipping, putting and full-shots were all needed in games specially created on the day at the excellent facility at 3 Hammers Golf Complex.
PL4S has been a central player in the initiative, helping promote golf in its football club communities thanks to the support from 12 Premier League and Championship football clubs.
A team from Cardiff City were deserved winners of the final, with Derby County second, and Southampton in third place.
To qualify, boys and girls played in a mini tournament at a local golf club (many experiencing a golf club for the first time) in order to select eight teams of four for the grand final. A key part of the project is offering youngsters the chance to play competitive golf at golf clubs, thereby opening up a new sport and its benefits for them to enjoy.
Young people have also been joining ‘StreetGolf Clubs’ – creating their own golf format games to suit their local environment (playing golf in a range of settings using their imagination) – and with the support of PL4S and Sport England this year’s national StreetGolf Club Championship benefits from a continued link with golf clubs, creating follow-on opportunities for regular coaching and play.
Football stadiums have even proved to be excellent venues for imaginative golfers. For example, Derby County’s iPro Stadium recently hosted a match between teams of youngsters from Derby County, Aston Villa and Stoke City, creating their own StreetGolf games and playing formats in the stadium itself.
Meanwhile, recently the Cardiff City FC project also won a Golf Foundation award for its work in the community, running a StreetGolf festival for 16 teams, with the winning team attending the national final as representatives of Wales.
Andy Leigh, Regional Development Officer for the Golf Foundation, is leading the project. He said: “All the young people have had great fun at a fantastic final today, and this has been a really good opportunity for them all to enjoy their progress as golfers. Major congratulations to winners Cardiff City and all the teams taking part and a huge thank you to the staff at 3 Hammers Golf Complex who have prepared an outstanding course and offered wonderful all-round service.
“StreetGolf is all about introducing young people to golf in their community environment, and its strength is its fun and flexibility. This flexibility has allowed us to also bring StreetGolf into the golf club for the first time to offer young people a taste of life at a club and to encourage a link with the club members and the PGA Professional going forwards.”
Andy added: “The Premier League 4 Sport partnership is very exciting indeed because 12 Premier League and Championship football clubs have helped us to present golf across their communities, drawing on their massive combined fan base – the power of football – and reaching so many more youngsters through golf; so a special thank you to all connected with PL4S and we look forward to developing this initiative further together.”
Finally, Andy Leigh praised golf trick shot specialist Geoff Swain, who presented a great trick shot show at the final, which was enjoyed by the youngsters and all the attending adults the event.
HSBC Golf Roots and the Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org
To learn more about PL4S and community projects see www.premierleague.com