Chief executive of the Golf Foundation Mike Round has applauded positive suggestions from Jack Nicklaus about junior golf in the UK and says the Golf Foundation needs much more help from big business in Britain in order to protect the future of junior golf.
Jack Nicklaus gave his views in a recent interview with website golfmagic.com. Among his comments the great player said, “Juniors need to be introduced to the game with some fundamental instruction and a little education on the traditions of the game. Golf has to be made fun for young players or they probably won’t come back a second time. Access to golf courses and instruction is an important first step.”
The Golf Foundation’s Mike Round said, “These are, as expected, wise words from Jack Nicklaus and this is the clear and commonsense thinking that junior golf needs everywhere. The Golf Foundation is working tremendously hard and very successfully to provide exactly the right platform to encourage as many children as possible into the game throughout Britain, but it needs more cash.
“The Foundation has introduced thousands of young children to the game in schools through our Tri-Golf programme and we now have well over 300 Starter Centres across Britain offering coaching programmes to young people.
“I can also announce that since the start of the year, 15,000 Junior Golf Passport booklets have been distributed, which will be used to structure the learning and monitor the performance of children new to the game. Added to this, our ‘Golf Roots’ project for 2005 – launched with partners The Daily Telegraph and Marriott – has just been launched and will take golf into nine inner cities and urban areas of the country over the summer, introducing the sport to many more children from a wide variety of backgrounds.”
Mike added: “All this work is carried out by a small but committed team working all over Britain, work carried out with children, liaising with schools and local authorities and golf clubs, all with the accent heavily on fun, enjoyment, accessibility and yet offering a strong sense of etiquette for new players.
“The Golf Foundation sets itself ambitious targets and we rely on highly committed people to work towards our goals. But the general public has to understand that maintaining this momentum takes money – lots of it. I believe it is wrong that so much of the funding for junior golf relies on ‘ad hoc’ donations to the Golf Foundation from a small sector of the general public. Golf clubs are becoming more and more generous in donations through their memberships, and it is wonderful that some golfers donate in legacies, and the golf industry itself has been more than generous. But I would like to see more big businesses putting something into junior golf. Let’s get a few more corporations backing the junior game – this is a chance to show their support for the grassroots of the game.
“It would be wonderful, come The Open Championship in a few weeks time, if we could tell Jack Nicklaus at his last competitive visit to St Andrews, that following some solid opinions from him, a plea to the world of big business had yielded real dividends.”
Mike Round was making his comments on the day the new Golf Roots programme was launched across 90 schools in Bradford, Stoke-on-Trent, Telford, Portsmouth, Colchester, Newport, Manchester, Swindon and London. The Foundation will be continuing its fundraising efforts at The Open at St Andrews in July.
Each year around 500,000 children across the British Isles benefit from the initiatives and resources available through the Golf Foundation.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org