2008 was a record year financially for leading golf charity the Golf Foundation. Expenditure on grass roots junior golf development reached a record high, achieving some impressive returns in the process.
Golf Foundation chief executive Mike Round has stressed that strong results have only inspired his team to reach “even higher standards” in their training and development work, which is winning strong respect in sports development circles.
Latest financial figures were released at the Golf Foundation’s recent AGM, held at Wentworth. Utilising its annual revenue from core funders and grants from governing bodies, public donations and fundraising projects, in 2008 the Foundation invested £1.93 million in grass roots junior golf activity in support of the national golf partnerships of England, Scotland and Wales. In 2007 this spending figure was £1.64 million.
During the last decade the Foundation has concentrated its energy and resources into making the game more accessible to children from all backgrounds and abilities. Current expenditure is ensuring that carefully planned initiatives aimed at growing the game in schools, community projects and golf clubs will reap rewards for junior golf now and in the future.
More than 74 per cent of 2008 expenditure went on training and development in three main areas: in schools and community projects, Community Links initiatives (linking schools to golf clubs) and Golf Roots (the inner city golf project that grew to 16 cities last year and reaches children who would otherwise miss out on golf).
A growing number of golf clubs and driving ranges are now becoming active partners in 326 local sport partnerships which take Golf Foundation golf games like Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme to approximately 8,300 schools, and an estimated 700,000 plus boys and girls. Starting their golf often in the school setting, these boys and girls are moving into the club environment to start a lifetime in golf and help protect the future of the game.
Golf Foundation figures show that in England alone the Foundation’s development team of seven regional officers trained more than 1,000 young volunteers in Tri-Golf delivery and Junior Golf Leaders Workshops during 2008. Last year, the Foundation trained 3,000 teachers to deliver Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme, which is also a landmark figure for the team. This team was able to grow from six to seven officers in 2008. While these figures show success across England, the Foundation is also delighted with progress made in the year working in partnership with clubgolf in Scotland and with Golf Development Wales.
Mike Round said, “We have always been confident that our strategy of strengthening golf in schools and forming stronger community links with golf clubs would pay dividends for junior golf. These highly encouraging statistics show that this plan really is working now. The team at the Foundation is very excited to be playing a major role in growing the base of young golfers in this way.”
Government figures further underline the positive progress. The School Sport Survey for 2007/08 indicates that the number of schools delivering golf has increased to 38 per cent (previously 31 per cent in 2006/07, 23 per cent in 2005/06). The number of schools with links to golf clubs and driving ranges has increased to 22 per cent (18 per cent in 2006/7). The survey found that golf was second only to cycling in terms of the fastest growth of sports in schools.
Government feedback also shows that 60 per cent of secondary schools now offer golf and the Foundation’s own internal monitoring finds that more than half of the primary schools delivering Tri-Golf do so during school curriculum time in the PE lesson.
This activity in junior grass roots golf has been made possible through a record level of income in 2008 of £2.18 million (£1.83 million in 2007). The Golf Foundation has a group of core funders which includes The R&A, The European Tour, The Ryder Cup and The PGA. Additional funding in 2008 came from Sport England, the National Sports Foundation and the England Golf Partnership. Individual donations also play an important role.
Fundraising by the Golf Foundation team and its supporters is also vital, whether driving the ‘Commit to Junior Golf‘ campaign, staging the Spirit of Golf dinner during The Open Championship, the annual Golf Foundation Pro-Am, or other activities. The golf industry, through the British Golf Industry Association, and through individual golf companies, also offers continued and welcome support.
Mike Round added, “We would like to thank all the people and organisations who are providing funds for our work. There are so many people who really do care about young people and helping them into golf. Moving forwards, there is no room at all for complacency. We will now strive for even higher standards and our team will seek to maintain and build on this momentum. The Foundation will be working hard with all our partners to make the game accessible to children everywhere because they are the future of golf.”
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org