Matt was added to the gloss for the GolfSixes kids after their victory: the boys and girls from Ponteland Golf Club in the North East, who won their regional Golf Foundation GolfSixes league, met Ryder Cup star Matt Fitzpatrick when they were invited along to the British Masters supported by Sky Sports at Close House by the European Tour.
GolfSixes, which returns to the European Tour International Schedule in 2018, is a modified format golf tournament which has been adapted by the Golf Foundation to have teams of six, playing six holes against other clubs, supported by their PGA Pro and parents as they make their way in competitive team golf. Nationally, 32 golf clubs have been testing the GolfSixes Academy league format in this Golf Foundation and England Golf pilot project in seven regions, all designed to further develop junior sections and backed by the European Tour and Sport England.
Ponteland’s recent win in their region at Close House against three rival teams meant the squad of 12 boys and girls, aged seven to 14, were invited as guests of the European Tour to the British Masters supported by Sky Sports, where they were introduced to none other than the four-time European Tour winner on the first tee. Fitzpatrick, a recent champion of the Omega European Masters, signed autographs with the youngsters and answered their questions in an inspiring session. Earlier the young players had soaked up the atmosphere of the day and watched the top players in action at Close House.
Golf Foundation Regional Development Officer Ian Harvey said: “All the youngsters from Ponteland GC have had a brilliant time at the British Masters thanks to their warm welcome from the European Tour. It’s been a great event here for local young people and families with a special atmosphere. And to get to meet Matt Fitzpatrick was a brilliant end to their experience. The Golf Foundation would like to thank the European Tour which has supported GolfSixes so well across all our regional leagues in this pilot project and we hope to expand on this next year.”
Nationally, many of the league matches have taken place at weekends and the support from parents has impressed the Golf Foundation team as the nationally recognised charity continues to look at new, innovative ways to create an exciting golf offer for families and aid the retention of juniors in golf clubs in support of England Golf. The GolfSixes Academy series has been supported enthusiastically from the start by the European Tour (including using its GolfSixes branding), with funding from Sport England.
Meanwhile, the British Masters enjoyed a strong attendance from families and their youngsters, as children under the age of 16 enjoyed free entry with parents and guardians.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org