Eagles were on the scorecard at Crystal Palace FC as former striker Mark Bright and friends used the power of football to help young people ‘Get into Golf’ on Monday 9th May.
Keen golfer Mark Bright was an inspirational guest as the Golf Foundation and Crystal Palace FC Foundation created a special 9-hole golf course with a difference inside Selhurst Park, home to the aptly named ‘Eagles’, to promote golf as a sport to youngsters from the wider local community.
Crystal Palace staff offered a fantastic welcome. Bright led the way as boys and girls were given an ‘access all areas’ pass to hit shots down the players’ tunnel, chip into the dugout, shoot into the goal, drive from the stand onto the pitch and putt in the trophy room – all before enjoying a well-earned picnic in the centre circle!
The creative golf format from the Golf Foundation is known as ‘StreetGolf’, where young people can design their own golf course to suit their environment. StreetGolf offers an immediate link to a range of local community sports projects up and down the country and the key is to offer follow-on opportunities for youngsters at golf facilities in their area.
The Crystal Palace FC Foundation works for the latest Premier League team to offer golf as part of their Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) programme. Eighteen professional football clubs now work with the Golf Foundation to help deliver HSBC Golf Roots, which has the goal of bringing all the benefits of golf to young people as one of their favourite sports.
The eight teams attending the day had been selected from HSBC Golf Roots projects in the area (and an invited team from Southampton FC) which are all linked to golf venues and PGA professional coaches. They included young people from two schools which cater for boys and girls with Special Educational Needs (SEN) and a team from one of these, Sunnydown School, was the winner on the day.
A team from Crystal Palace FC will now play in the national StreetGolf final against other Premier League 4 Sport clubs in June. A similar big stadium golf event was held at Derby County’s iPro Stadium last week, in which teams from Derby, Aston Villa and Stoke City battled it out in their own StreetGolf challenge.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “The whole staff at Crystal Palace were absolutely superb in welcoming all the young people. The Premier League 4 Sport partnership is very exciting indeed because it provides golf with the opportunity to reach a much wider audience using the power of football, telling the golf story to potentially thousands of new youngsters.”
He added: “Today was about fun but also great partnerships. We are extremely grateful to the Crystal Palace FC Foundation and also to the team at Community Golf, the PGA professionals involved and the local schools.”
This golf project is a partnership between the Golf Foundation, PL4S and Sport England, and supports England Golf’s wider ‘Get into Golf’ initiative which is getting people of all ages golfing throughout the country.
Roxanne Bennett, Sports Development Officer at CPFC Foundation, said: “Today was a fantastic event. We were able to bring golf to a Premier League football stadium to provide a truly unique experience for young people in our programmes. We have received really positive feedback from the teams involved.
“With the continued partnership between Crystal Palace FC Foundation, Premier League 4 Sport and the Golf Foundation we are able to offer the opportunity for young people to play golf at their local clubs and receive free weekly lessons. I would like to say thank you to the club for allowing us access to the stadium, to everyone involved in the planning and all the participants on the day, and we look forward to future projects.”
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org