The English Golf Union (EGU), English Ladies‘ Golf Association (ELGA), the Golf Foundation and Professional Golfers‘ Association (PGA), with the support of Sport England funding, created the partnership in 1999 with the aim of promoting golf within schools and developing junior structures within golf clubs.
The number of links with schools, the amount of volunteers involved with juniors and the number of junior friendly accredited golf clubs have all significantly increased and provide a strong foundation at grass roots level.
The Golf Foundation launched Tri-Golf in the summer of 2000 and the programme has been a huge success with over half a million children involved in Tri-Golf activity sessions at their primary school. In addition 50,000 children in over 1,000 secondary schools received subsidised coaching sessions run by PGA professionals.
The Starter Centre Initiative was set up to provide a follow on from this school-based activity. This scheme, aimed at providing low cost opportunities for children to receive coaching in appropriate golf facilities, has seen in excess of 100,000 boys and girls attend sessions since it started in 1999.
All coaching was conducted using the Golf Foundation’s recommended training syllabus called the ‘Junior Golf Passport‘. This programme, which can be used to meet the requirements of the national curriculum, ensured that those children coached in school were then encouraged to continue their learning at a golf club or Starter Centre.
Further assistance has been provided via the EGU/ELGA Junior Club Coaching Grant (JCCG), which, through the provision of £250,000, has helped in the coaching of nearly 50,000 boys and girls at over 1,000 golf clubs since its launch in 1999. Other resources such as the Junior Organisers Handbook and Junior Handicapping Scheme have also provided additional support for clubs.
The EGU/ELGA Junior GolfMark is a further initiative to develop stronger structures within golf clubs and over the past 12 months almost 400 clubs have applied to participate. A recent survey of accredited clubs highlighted that a high percentage offer equal access for juniors to enter competitions, with 93% offering at least 10 junior competitions per year and 81% provide cut down clubs for juniors to use. In 73% of golf clubs the majority of junior members are classed as active and 92% of golf clubs have junior friendly amenities.
All initiatives are clearly having a positive effect. The recent golf club membership questionnaire conducted by the EGU and ELGA identified an increase in the number of junior members and a reduction in barriers to memberships such as joining fees and complicated application procedures over the last two years. It is also particularly encouraging that the number of girls who are members of clubs has increased by 50% over the life of the EJGP development plan.
The PGA has also played a key role by developing a Level 1 assistant coach qualification, with courses set to roll out in the spring of 2005. This will enable volunteers to assist a more qualified coach when training juniors who are new to the game. In accordance with the United Kingdom Coaching Certificate (UKCC) guidelines, the PGA is continuing to develop Levels 2 – 5 to highlight the coach development pathway. The introduction of volunteer coaches will be added support to the Starter Centre and GolfMark initiatives.
Bill Bryce, EJGP Chairman comments: “It is a tribute to all of the partners that their dedication and enthusiasm for junior golf has produced such strong initiatives and encouraging results to date. We must continue to move forward at all levels and in particular with our work in schools and golf clubs.”
A copy of the current EJGP development plan (2003-2007) can be viewed at www.englishgolfunion.org > Junior Golf > EJGP 2003-2007.
The success of the Junior Partnership has provided a big step forward for the game and clearly supports the newly created ‘England Golf Partnership‘ that has the task of developing the game at all ages from grass roots through to elite.
For further information please contact: EGU Golf Development Team Tel: 01526 354500 E-mail: email@example.com