Newly released government figures show continued good progress for leading golf charity the Golf Foundation in making the game more accessible to children from all backgrounds and abilities.
The PE and Sport Survey 2008/09* for England demonstrates that the Golf Foundation’s strategy of introducing golf to schools and then linking those schools to golf clubs and driving ranges in order to expand the player base is paying dividends. The survey indicates that the number of schools offering golf increased from 38% (in 2007/8) to 42% (in 2008/9). This figure was 23% in 2005/06 and just 14% in 2003/4.
Other key findings of the survey (commissioned by the Department for Children, Schools and Families) include:
- 36% of primary schools and 66% of secondary schools offered golf in the academic year of 2008/9.
- The number of schools with formal links to golf clubs and driving ranges increased from 22% (in 2007/8) to 26% (in 2008/9). In 2003/4, this figure was just 9%.
In England, the Golf Foundation has focused much of its work on schools and linking schools to golf facilities in support of England Golf. England Golf’s ‘Whole Sport Plan for Golf’ is an initiative supported by Sport England that identifies how England Golf will achieve its vision of being “The Leading Golf Nation in the World by 2020”, from grass roots right through to the elite level.
The new government survey covers England but the Golf Foundation is also supporting the national golf partnerships of Scotland and Wales with funding and shared knowledge to help increase access for youngsters to the game in those countries.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “We are very pleased to see these new government figures. Combining the results for percentage increases in school-based provision and school/club links, it appears that golf has been more successful than any other sport in the last academic year and this is a credit to all the teachers, volunteers, PGA professionals and sports development officers involved.
“It also proves how our initiatives like Tri-Golf for younger children and Golf Xtreme for older pupils are immediately popular to those who pick up a club for the first time. Our successful 2008 and 2009 Golf Roots projects for inner city children have also made a huge impact across the school network.
“Working with the national partnerships, we strongly believe that by offering children a pathway into golf so they can enjoy the positive benefits of the game, the ‘skills for life’ that it offers them, we can also make a huge difference to the future security and health of golf as a sport.”
Mike added: “The whole team at the Golf Foundation now wants to redouble its efforts to ensure that golf can be a game for all children. The Foundation has been well supported in recent years with this aim in mind. As a charity we rely on public funding. We need all club golfers, organisations and companies in golf to consider supporting us because this successful grass roots development is simply good for golf as a whole. Some innovative new initiatives are being planned by the Golf Foundation for 2010 to build on the momentum created this year.”
Much of the success of the Foundation’s work in schools has been because clear, easy to deliver initiatives (like Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme) have been well received, a strong sense of partnership has been achieved (both with national partners and also with more than 300 local school sport partnerships) and the continued growth of the experienced and committed team of Golf Foundation Regional Development Officers has been possible through ongoing support and funding.
* Figures from the PE and Sport Survey 2008/09 carried out by TNS-BMRB on behalf of the Department for Children, Schools and Families.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org