A huge urban sporting initiative that aims to raise the profile of golf in these areas, leading golf charity the Golf Foundation sees its project this year as a major opportunity to find new players and talent for the game and to show that golf can be for everyone.
The full list of Golf Roots City Projects has just been finalised and can be found at the end of this release.
Golf Roots, which incorporates both community and city projects, is designed to create a ‘player pathway’ from schools to golf clubs and driving ranges, in many cases giving children who would never have even given golf a thought, a try at a sport which can offer them considerable playing, social and health benefits as they develop into adulthood.
Every Golf Roots project is designed to last. This sustainability occurs because of all the teachers, volunteers, PGA professionals, sports officers and young leaders who embrace the project and enjoy it. Golf Roots empowers many different people in the community. In each case it is run locally with Golf Foundation support and appeals to ‘hard to reach’ and ethnic minority children. Golf offers ‘skills for life’ to young people; attributes like honesty, respect, co-operation and self-motivation.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “Our Golf Roots projects in cities and urban areas have been a big hit in recent years and after seeing this success we knew that this could be expanded to reach thousands of new young players and show them, and to show established golfers, that golf can be for everyone. Golf Roots is about providing the opportunity to enjoy golf and breaking down social and economic barriers wherever possible. We think the scale of the project and the commitment of all involved will produce a wonderful advertisement for the game.”
Golf Roots has some heavyweight support from The R&A, the European Tour, the Ryder Cup, the PGA, England Golf and Sport England. A further amount of money has been made available from the Ryder Cup Trust.
In addition to backing from BBC radio presenter DJ Spoony, who has raised funds for Golf Roots over a number of years, support also comes from a British Olympic legend and a phalanx of famous names from professional golf. 2000 Olympic gold medallist Denise Lewis, European number one golfer Lee Westwood, Solheim Cup European Captain Alison Nicholas, BBC broadcaster Ken Brown and Ladies European Tour leading lights Rebecca Hudson, Felicity Johnson, Samantha Head and Johanna Mundy have all signed up as Golf Roots Ambassadors.
Denise Lewis said: “Golf Roots reaches young people who wouldn’t otherwise have the chance to try the sport, which is why I agreed to become an Ambassador for the project. It’s really important to me that Golf Roots is making it possible for more girls and young people from the black and minority ethnic groups to access the sport.”
Golf Roots is often first experienced in a school or public venue setting (Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme games can be played at sports festivals, carnivals, even shopping centres). The link to golf clubs means that Golf Roots can bring more youngsters into the club environment to attain a first handicap with help from their PGA professional and club volunteers, and will help lead to more golfers everywhere in the future.
An important area of Golf Roots is about young volunteers. It is a great vehicle to attract sporty young people (between the ages of 14 and 16), into the volunteering network in golf clubs and the community, something seen by the national golf partnerships as a vital cog in the wheel of growing the game.
The Golf Roots projects in the cities and urban areas are ready for a year packed with Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme courses in schools, golf club liaison and coaching sessions with junior-friendly clubs, and major Golf Roots festivals that bring schools from all over an area together for friendly competition. Every project will find a winning team which will then go forward to a Grand Final of Tri-Golf action at Loughborough University in the Autumn.
The 23 projects for 2010 are located in: Newcastle, Sheffield, Durham, Chester, Liverpool, Carlisle, Coventry, Birmingham, Telford, Grimsby, Leicester, Derby, Westminster, Ipswich, East London, Croydon, Portsmouth, Brighton, Bournemouth, Bristol, Exeter, Cardiff and Wrexham. A North Lanarkshire project will also take part in some Golf Roots activity.
For more information on Golf Roots go to www.golf-foundation.org