Primary school children in Horsham West Sussex are being given the opportunity to play golf on a pop-up golf course thanks to Mike Yorke, a PGA qualified golf coach and the Founder of MY Golf Academy. It is part of the ‘Fairways to Horsham’ initiative he is rolling out across the district; the goal being to extend the programme throughout the southeast/nationally within the next two years.
Partners include Horsham District Sports Development, Right Track Group Inc and Golf Escapes. It will culminate in a grand finale on July 4 hosted by Nick Dougherty, a Sky Academy Ambassador, 3 time European Tour Winner and golf pundit on Sky Sports.
Says Mike, “Every year we extend our coaching in the school community and with our investment in the GolfParc® engineered pop-up golf course we are adding an exciting new dimension to our sessions. The course includes the typical hazards you’ll find on a golf course; bunkers, rough, trees, even a lake! We can transform a school playground or playing field into a 6-hole golf course in 40 minutes. I’m confident we’ll see more children playing golf as a result. And having Nick as our event ambassador and the co-host of our grand finale is fantastic for everyone involved.”
Schools can choose from a five-hour, three-hour, or one-hour event, with Mike and his team supplying the golf clubs, the pop-up golf course and the tuition. The format enables disabled and non-disabled children to play alongside one another. The top 18 teams from each age group will be invited to the Fairways to Horsham final at Horsham Golf Fitness, on the short course, which opens in June. The team with the lowest score will be awarded a trophy and every child will be presented with a participation certificate.
Primary schools in the District that have entered so far include North Heath, Loxwood, Castlewood, Southwater Junior Academy, St Andrews (Nuthurst), Leechpool and Kingslea. Paul Showell, the PE coordinator from Southwater Junior Academy said: “We entered Fairways to Horsham to give our pupils the opportunity to try a different sport from the usual curriculum style types of sports.” Sue Barnard, PE teacher and coordinator at Castlewood said: “We want to inspire our children to experience a sport we cannot offer easily in school. It’s important to try a wide range of sports and golf will enable some of our pupils to achieve a healthy school/leisure balance; something they can carry forward into adulthood. Who knows the next Rory McIlroy could be in our midst!”
Explaining why they are the main sponsor of this initiative, Ashley Alinia (CEO of national brand Right Track Group Inc which has its headquarters in Horsham) said “We’re passionate about investing in our local community, and in particular young people, and what better way than through the medium of golf – a game that offers so many positive life skills for them.”
Sky Academy Ambassador Nick Dougherty said: “When I was presented with the opportunity to become involved with Mike and his team I couldn’t say no. I know how beneficial it is to get children into golf at a young age. The attributes they gain from playing golf will carry them through every aspect of their life. I like to think that not only will we be making them better golfers, we will be making them better people too.”
MY Golf Academy http://my-golf-academy.co.uk/