Sportsmanship, respect, resilience and other ‘Skills for Life’ were to the fore as young people from all over England and North Wales contested the Golf Foundation’s grass roots National StreetGolf Final at The 3 Hammers Golf Complex; on the course designed by Sir Henry Cotton, founder member of the Golf Foundation.
Some 40% of the finalists were girls, who like the boys, had only recently experienced golf on an actual golf course for the first time after their first golf coaching in the spring (an all-girl quartet from North Wales Golf Club won the silver medals for second place on the day).
The junior-friendly Wolverhampton venue was the perfect par-3 facility for young StreetGolf players brand new to the sport on Thursday (June 21).
From 10 regions of England, with support from Wales, 44 youngsters in 11 teams qualified through school events and regional finals, with around 70 selected school golf satellite clubs teeing it up on this golfing journey at the start of the year (18 clubs had a specific girls’ golf focus, while all encouraged girls to take part). These school golf clubs (supported by Sport England funding) are all linked to Golf Foundation HSBC Golf Roots Centres which welcome young people into the game at club level. The Foundation’s player pathway is bringing increasing numbers of young people from school and community to regular golf at golf clubs.
The National StreetGolf Final exemplifies the Foundation’s ‘Golf for All’ philosophy that the sport can support young people of all abilities. This child-centred, inclusive charity assists golf’s national governing bodies to ensure more youngsters ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport, offering the “Skills for Life, a game for life and a healthy life”.
Martin Crowder, Development Manager for the Golf Foundation, said: “All the young players were a credit to their schools and golf clubs. They had fun on the course and showed respect at all times towards their opponents, which is what golf is all about. We would like to thank the staff at The 3 Hammers Golf Complex for their brilliant support.
“We were delighted to welcome so many girls to the final, which demonstrates that our StreetGolf satellite clubs in schools have worked really well in encouraging girls, a focus that underpins all Golf Foundation programmes throughout the year. I was the scorer for the girls’ pairing from Wolverhampton and they were brilliant. They helped each other line up the putts and encouraged the other team.”
Foundation RDO Katie Moggan said: “The boys’ pairings I supported were really lovely, showing great sportsmanship and really helping the lads from the other team out; they were so friendly to their opponents. That was special.”
RDO Stacey Mitchell scored for youngsters from The Way Youth Zone, a Wolverhampton charity which supports young people in the area. Stacey said: “One of the girls told me, ‘this is the happiest I’ve ever been playing sport’. She’s only been playing golf a few weeks and she was awesome! I also spoke with the teacher from Baysgarth School in Lincolnshire and learned that while sports such as football and cricket weren’t for his team of boys, they had ‘found their sport’ in golf and had been busy practising at the club ready for the final. Their teacher said they absolutely loved their day at 3 Hammers.”
The day also enjoyed a timely World Cup theme. In recent years, the StreetGolf Final has been built on positive local relationships with community projects in urban areas more known for football than golf, and in the final the Golf Foundation team spoke with youngsters about how sport creates valuable life skills (“resilience” being the word of the day), while golf offers its participants the chance to learn about sporting values, focus, handling pressure and other ‘Skills for Life’ they can use out on the course but also in their wider lives.
The winning team came from Alsop High School in Cheshire, which is linked to Styal Golf Club; second place was the all-girl team from North Wales Golf Club, and third place was Countesthorpe Leysland Community College, which is linked to Beedles Lake Golf Club in Leicestershire.
Pictured top: Streetgolf Winning team Alsop High School (Leaderboard Photography). In second place was the all-girl team from North Wales Golf Club (Leaderboard Photography)
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org