The Golf Foundation’s concentrated effort to get more children playing golf in schools and then linking these schools to golf clubs is earning positive results.
Recently released government figures for sport in schools in England indicate that over the last four years the number of schools offering golf has increased from just over 3,000 to almost 6,800. The percentage of schools providing golf in England has increased as follows:
• 2003/04 14%
• 2004/05 19%
• 2005/06 23%
• 2006/07 31%
In addition, and as a direct result of the Golf Foundation’s strategic approach to its work, the percentage of schools with formal links to golf clubs has doubled, increasing from nine per cent in 2003/4 to 18 per cent in 2006/7.
Mike Round, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, said, “The newly available figures give an indication of the progress being achieved by our development team in schools through Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme. Work at this pre-club level has been a special focus for us and there is clear evidence that our school and school/club link work is contributing significantly to the numbers of youngsters going on to participate in the coaching programmes organised by golf clubs.
“Our regional development officers are working very effectively with teachers, volunteers, PGA professionals and partnership development managers, and are linking ever greater numbers of schools with golf clubs. The recent figures are very encouraging but it’s our task to make further progress to make entry to the sport as easy and appealing as possible.”
The Foundation relies on teachers and junior golf leaders to pass on the fun of golf to the youngsters and it works closely with 295 school sport partnerships, reaching an estimated 65 per cent of all schools. In a very busy first half of 2007, the development team of the Golf Foundation trained almost as many teachers and volunteers as they did in the whole of 2006. Some 1,843 teachers were trained from January to June 2007, compared with 1,944 in the whole of last year. A total of 11,000 teachers and leaders have now been trained in the last three-and-a-half years.
In addition to its successes in schools, through its ‘Community Links’ programme the Foundation has been supporting golf facilities that offer taster sessions to schools and youth groups and follow-on opportunities for young people at the golf club or facility itself. As well as benefiting from grant-aid, the facilities have been using the Golf Foundation’s Junior Golf Passport, the officially recognized and increasingly popular learning programme, to teach young beginners the basics of the game, monitor their progress and reward their achievements.
The Golf Foundation supports the national golf partnerships of England, Scotland and Wales, set up to grow the game. The charity estimates that it reached nearly 700,000 school children in the last year in Great Britain, with younger children learning the rudiments of golf with Tri-Golf, and older pupils playing Golf Xtreme in school for their first experience of hitting golf shots.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org