Can you win a Major without learning golf’s ‘Skills for Life’? While the Golf Foundation reaches 500,000 young people a year through the HSBC Golf Roots programme, all of the charity’s golf projects are underpinned by the desire to offer youngsters the life skills associated with this great game.
Young people up and down the country will have been excited by Danny Willett’s recent Masters win, and golf charity the Golf Foundation, working with its national partners, has the tools to help these young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the game.
The technical skills will only take you so far to winning that first Major but many believe the mental side of the game, including the life skills absorbed from our successes and failures, serve to dictate who ends up with the Claret Jug or Green Jacket, or even the club championship.
The Golf Foundation always stresses that it isn’t just concerned with the number of children it reaches through golf, it is equally about setting them on the path to a good life in golf.
This road often starts with the Majors, as every year children and young people are inspired when watching their winners, just as Danny Willett was himself. He first started at a municipal golf club in Sheffield, where everyone had to clean their own clubs and shoes and respect the coaches and the game. Would those Skills for Life prove valuable for young Danny?
The Green Jacket is seen in Chorley
Willett’s Masters win will have been seen by thousands of young people who will have never picked up a golf club or may have just started playing. Everyone has been learning about the Green Jacket since then – one of sport’s most unusual prizes and full of mystique.
At Euxton Park Golf Centre in Chorley, Lancashire, the Green Jacket has taken on a special meaning for the youngsters. For the fourth year in succession during Masters week, Golf Foundation Regional Development Officer Andy Leigh ran the ‘Masters Skills Challenge’, in which boys and girls played different games to win… a mini Masters Green Jacket, to wear as a prize between challenges.
Andy Leigh said: “We bought the little green jacket from a local school outfitters and stuck on a laminated Masters badge on the chest. The children love to win and wear the jacket and be a Masters Champion, and the members here enjoy it when they see a proud youngster imitating their heroes. It’s all a bit tongue and cheek but it really helps to explain what The Masters and the Majors are all about and really fires the imaginations of the kids.”
The Rory effect
Each year in the run-up to, and during, The Open, the Golf Foundation reaches thousands of youngsters and introduces them to golf. As with all of its HSBC Golf Roots activity, follow-on opportunities lead the young people to be able to try golf in our golf clubs. The Power of the Majors!
The value of Skills for Life
At Euxton Park in Chorley, the coaching team also introduced a special ‘Skills for Life’ trophy which can be won each week by the youngster who shows the best spirit, sportsmanship or behaviour during the golf session. This simple trophy, donated by a member, can be presented to a boy or girl who may not have won a single golf challenge, but has shown their sportsmanship and respect for the day. Andy Leigh said: “This can make all the difference to a youngster. He or she may not be the best player but to have their good character recognised can be a great prize in itself.”
We are sure that Danny Willett and Rory McIlroy would approve of this sentiment. The technical skills of golf are one thing but you will never triumph over all your adversaries and win the Green Jacket or the Claret Jug on the technical skills alone!
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org