A total of 16 cities and urban areas in England and Wales are to take part in ‘Golf
Roots’, the largest ever UK programme to introduce urban youngsters to golf and the sport’s positive benefits.
The Golf Foundation,
a charity committed to the sporting and social development of young people through golf, believes that golf is an ideal sport for promoting attribut
es like honesty, respect, co-operation and self-motivation; all attributes that are seen as desirable for young people growing up in sometimes
pressurised city environments.
Through Golf Roots the Foundation wants to offer boys and girls from all backgrounds and abilities the
opportunity to play golf as they grow up. The 16 Golf Roots venues for 2008 are Birmingham, Bournemouth, Bristol, Cardiff, Corby, Derby, East
London, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle upon Tyne, Portsmouth, Preston, Sheffield, South London, Worcester and Wrexham. This effectively doubles
the size of a successful similar project in 2007.
Importantly, Golf Roots aims to create sustainable golf projects in all these areas.
The Foundation development team is working with local organisations and local people to run the area inititiatives, with the express aim of
schools and community groups linking with area golf facilities to provide the ‘pathway’ for interested youngsters to go from a first
hit with a golf club to one day becoming regular golfers.
The project has attracted heavyweight support, from golf lover and popular TV a
nd radio presenter DJ Spoony, and professional golf’s European Tour. Both have contributed greatly in the development of Golf Roots.
This year, with additional support from the National Sports Foundation, England Golf, The R&A and the British Golf Industry Association&rsquo
;s ‘Grow Golf’fund, the project is set for its biggest year yet.
DJ Spoony said, “I grew up in an area of London where
nobody played golf. I came to the sport much later, fell in love with it and realised how good golf can be for young people and their developme
nt. I’m passionate about giving youngsters in city areas the chance to find themselves through their sport and that’s why I’m
behind Golf Roots.”
Brendon Pyle, Golf Foundation development manager, said, “We have run Golf Roots programmes in previous ye
ars but never approaching this scale before. The fact that we can follow this ambitious plan is down to the enthusiasm of all the local delive
ry partners in all 16 cities, and our supporters, including the inspirational figure of DJ Spoony, who has already raised thousands of pounds f
or Golf Roots and both talked with, and played golf with, many youngsters taking part in Golf Roots events.
“Golf Roots aims to chall
enge the perceptions towards golf and its ability to reach into communities where previously golf may not have been considered an option. A hug
e part of this is also about creating sustainable golf projects which empower individuals, including both children and the teachers, parents and
During the summer ahead, local Golf Roots partnerships will see golf played in schools, at golf clubs and at
public festivals in their areas. Younger children will play Tri-Golf. This is a game with light plastic clubs and soft balls and includes
lots of fun team games and activities. Golf Xtreme, for older pupils (11-16s), is an ideal introduction to the sport, using imaginative form
ats specially designed to engage teenagers.
A major part of the initiative is the recruitment of co-ordinators, and the provision of le
adership training for teachers and volunteers. For each area, two young volunteer leaders are to be trained to help co-ordinate activity and
encourage their peers to take part in the project. These volunteers will be trained on a special day at The Belfry in May, attended by DJ
Much of the local work will be run through schools and community groups and will provide a pathway for youngsters to be able t
o move on to one of the Golf Foundation’s Community Links centres at golf clubs and driving ranges and then receive structured learnin
g that is ready for them through the Foundation’s Junior Golf Passport.
The Golf Roots programme enjoys important backing from th
e European Tour. The Tour has been a strong supporter of the Golf Foundation and wants to help develop grass roots junior golf. At the end
of the 2007 Golf Roots programme, which involved seven cities nationwide, the Tour invited a group of youngsters along to one of golf&rsquo
;s most famous venues, Wentworth, to see behind the scenes during the HSBC World Match Play Championship.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org