The Brooksbank School Sport College in Halifax has won a top national award for its community golf scheme that links area schools with local golf clubs, and, with continued Golf Foundation backing, it is now looking to expand the project significantly in the New Year, doubling the number of children taking part.
More than 900 children have so far taken part in the scheme, where children from as young as five get to hit their first shots in school playing Tri-Golf – the Golf Foundation’s fun and safe golf game using plastic clubs, soft balls and colourful targets – and older children learn to play real golf at local courses, having already got to know the club’s PGA professional and members during their coaching visits to the schools.
The innovative idea means that all children at the schools can experience an extra, alternative sport and that golf clubs, which are traditionally the bastion of the older person, are now experiencing a change in culture and welcoming more young players.
Brooksbank’s Partnership development manager Steve King was presented with the Youth Sport Trust award in November, given each year to a body that improves the link between schools and clubs in a local area.
Backed by the Golf Foundation – the national charity committed to making golf more accessible to young people – the scheme has been running for one year, and the Youth Sport Trust award is shared with Elland Golf Club, the Halifax club that helped pioneer the link project. Since then, West End, Lightcliffe, Hebden Bridge and Crow Nest Golf Clubs have all joined in the local initiative.
With Golf Foundation support, Steve has been able to introduce both PGA professionals and members of golf clubs to schools, all of whom are trained to give children their first hits with club and ball. Access to the clubs is then much easier. So far, 935 children from the Calderdale area have been involved in the project and Steve forecasts that this figure will double next summer.
Steve King said, “We are all delighted with just how well this project has gone and the feedback from children, teachers, parents and the golf clubs all encourages us to expand the work next year to get more children involved.
“Winning the award recognizes the hard work of a lot of people, including Nick Krzywicki, the pro at Elland Golf Club, and Phil Beard, the Golf Foundation’s development officer for the area.”
Mike Round, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “All at the Foundation are thrilled for Steve and all those involved in Halifax for winning this award. It is only fair recognition for what we believe is an outstanding model for sport in the community.”
Youth Sport Trust www.youthsporttrust.org