The 2013 edition of the ‘Big Swing’ in Dorset has introduced more than 420 boys and girls to golf and trained 66 teenagers as Young Leaders to support future golf events for new players.
In a blaze of sunshine at Sir John Colfox School in Bridport on Tuesday (30th April), 40 teams of nine and 10 year-olds played quick-fire Tri-Golf team games, where scoring was crucial but laughter and encouragement were in equal supply.
Supported by leading golf charity the Golf Foundation, the Big Swing is a major school golf festival. School Games Organiser Dale Rhodes used her experience to mastermind bringing 17 schools together from all over Dorset for the big event.
Three top local PGA Professionals had coached the boys and girls in advance through regular sessions at the schools, with the aim of follow-up coaching sessions at the golf clubs.
Professionals Duncan Driver (Lyme Regis GC), Des Lochrie (Weymouth GC) and David Parsons (Bridport & West Dorset GC) were inspirational on the day; the young players winning extra points for their understanding of life skills such as good sportsmanship, game etiquette and respect for opponents.
Congratulations to the winning team of SymondsburyPrimary School in Bridport, who won the overall Big Swing championship.
Des Lochrie also expertly ran a ‘Super Sixes’ Golf Xtreme competition for teams of older children, a fast-paced team event that is proving a big hit in secondary schools.
Winning area teams came from schools in Weymouth & Portland, Bridport and Lyme Regis. The Big Swing forms part of the School Games and is now a new PE activity in many of the schools, encouraging children of all abilities to have a go.
Bridport & West Dorset Professional David Parsons said: “This was a fantastic event. After our work teaching golf in the schools to enjoy a festival like this was great for the youngsters. They loved it. Full marks to my fellow pros Des and Duncan, they both did a wonderful job today.”
Golf Foundation Regional Officer Mark Boscott said: “This competition was hugely exciting. We began the day by training 66 Young Leaders aged 14-19 who can now help mentor youngsters at up and coming events and help the PGA Professionals back at the golf clubs.”
The Pros teamed up with Dale Rhodes, Mark Boscott and England Golf Partnership County Development Officer Dee Wood (the event is part of the ‘Get into Golf’ intitiative – www.getintogolf.org). All three golf clubs involved are Golf Foundation HSBC Golf Roots centres.
Dale Rhodes said: “Winning teams will now qualify for a major day of School Games in the area in June, where 17 sports will come together, including youngsters with disabilities. Our new Young Leaders can help make this day a great success. A big thank you today to SirJohnColfoxSchool for hosting the Big Swing.”
The Big Swing is the brainchild of another PGA Professional Darren Stratman, PGA Professional at the Academy at Ferndown Forest Golf Club. While he has handed over the reins this year, he was due to be welcoming a further 300 plus youngsters from schools in his area to create another major golf festival on Friday (3rd May). His club is also an HSBC Golf Roots centre.
Dee Wood said: “Darren’s amazing enthusiasm has rubbed off and got us all very excited about the potential for large-scale golf festivals like this. It’s a great way to get youngsters started in golf and we wish Darren all the best for a great event of his own on Friday.”
HSBC Golf Roots and Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org