This week MPs and Peers were invited to Get into golf and to become champions for the grassroots game in their constituencies.
Golf was one of the sports showcased at the inaugural Parliamentary Sports Fair. It was organised by the Sport and Recreation Alliance as part of the #GetYourKitOn campaign, which urges continued investment in grassroots sport and recreation to create an active nation.
The All Party Parliamentary Golf Group encouraged decision-makers to have a go at golf, to find out about England Golf’s Get into golf campaign and to learn about the health and well-being benefits of the game.
They were given a fun introduction to the sport by Community Golf, which offers opportunities for disadvantaged and disabled people to play golf in Surrey and parts of Sussex, Kent and London.
Richard Shaw, director and founder of Community Golf, said: “The day was fantastic and we had around 40 MPs and peers have a go at our stand! We were certainly one of the busiest stands, which is fantastic for our sport.”
Among those who had a go were Lord Archer and MPs Andrew Bingham (High Peak), Paul Scully (Sutton and Cheam) (pictured above with Richard Shaw), Caroline Flint (Don Valley) and Chris Heaton-Harris (Daventry).
Parliamentarians also heard about the Get into golf campaign, run by England Golf and supported by Sky Sports, which inspires more people to play the game and enjoy a sociable sport with many health benefits.
According to the Sport and Recreation Alliance, the cost of health related conditions associated with inactivity, including obesity and diabetes, is costing the nation £7.4bn each year.
Golf, the fifth most-played sport in England, has a tremendous reach across all backgrounds and abilities and can support the Government’s sports strategy to tackle inactivity.
In a 9-hole round golfers will walk two to three miles, take over 5000 steps and burn over 450 calories – all within a couple of hours. It’s a sociable sport and studies show it can help people live longer, reduce their stress levels, and improve their self-esteem.
England Golf Chief Executive Nick Pink said: “Golf makes a huge contribution to the Government’s agenda to promote an active and healthy lifestyle. We’re very pleased to have today’s opportunity to involve MPs and Peers and hope they will join us to spread the message about the health benefits of golf and attract many more people to enjoy our great game.”
Speaking after the event, Chair of the Parliamentary Golf Group and MP for Lincoln, Karl McCartney, said “I am delighted that Members of Parliament have had the opportunity to find out more about golf in their constituencies.
“Get into golf is a fantastic initiative to promote participation golf in communities across the UK, and we need to encourage Members of Parliament to learn more about the sport and its importance to the nation’s health and wellbeing.”
The Sports Fair also marked the launch of the Sports and Recreation Alliance’s Get Your Kit On – A Guide to Grassroots Sport and Recreation. The guide is an online resource that is a hub of key information, contacts and resources to enable MPs to engage in Westminster debates as advocates for grassroots sport and at a community level promote local clubs with their activities.
Visit www.getintogolf.org to find out about beginner courses, taster lessons and special events at clubs and ranges nationwide.
Other England Golf programmes to grow participation include Golf Express, which promotes 9-hole golf to encourage busy people to play all the game in half the time. It recognises the paces of modern life and offers 9 hole formats that most golfers can conveniently fit into a busy schedule. The golfexpress9.org website offers places to play across the country through its online directory and also features special offers.
Community Golf www.communitygolf.net
England Golf www.englandgolf.org