Golf Xtreme – the new golf initiative for 11-16 year olds – was the star of the show at the recent ‘Education in Golf Seminar’ day at the De Vere Belfry, organised by the Golf Foundation on behalf of England Golf.
A total of 140 education and sport specialists gathered at the famous Ryder Cup venue and had an exclusive first try of the new golf concept that will, the Golf Foundation believes, make a significant impact on golf in secondary schools in England.
The Golf Xtreme players hit specially made, lighter golf balls, with lightweight golf clubs. The ball travels far enough for the thrill of the hit, including draws, slices etc, yet is safe in the school environment. PE games like ‘GFX-Speed’ offer exciting team options and the short game fun can be enjoyed anywhere, indoors or outside (it is also designed for use in the curriculum for subjects like maths, and design and technology).
In pilot studies, Golf Xtreme has been popular with young students – girls in particular – who have become a little disenchanted with traditional sports. Sally Benton, a school sports co-ordinator from Norwich, said, “I really enjoyed trying the Golf Xtreme clubs and balls and believe the new game will go down really well with teenagers because you can play without any fear of failure, you get instant success and it’s informal and fun – you don’t even have to go through the fuss of putting on a PE kit, which is great for many girls.”
Mike Round, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, said, “Golf Xtreme can make a sizeable contribution to changing the golfing landscape for young people, creating stronger school and club links and increasing accessibility for youngsters as part of the ‘Start’ level of England Golf’s Whole Sport Plan.”
This message was emphasised in one of the Belfry workshops on the day. The Golf Foundation is involved with 40 School Sport Partnerships which have joined the government-funded national Physical Education and School Sport Club Links (PESSCL) programme (funding given, in England, to England Golf and then administered by the Golf Foundation). This programme establishes a formal link between a number of schools and at least one golf club working towards official accreditation through GolfMark – an EGU/ELGA initiative.
Other workshops included a school partnership in St Helens showing how Tri- Golf games have helped to engage teenage boys in maths lessons as they analyse their scores (against those of their peers!). Delegates learned how the PGA can offer training to volunteers and teachers who want to become qualified coaches and how competition structures are being examined to aid promising juniors.
Brendon Pyle, national development manager for the Golf Foundation, said, “We received fantastic feedback at the Belfry. This has to be one of the Foundation’s best ever events and we’re really grateful to the De Vere Belfry team for their excellent support. Our team will now be holding workshops in each region to teach more and more teachers all the benefits of Golf Xtreme.”
Golf Foundation. www.golf-foundation.org