The Royal and Ancient Golf Club is backing a home grown, ground breaking project aimed at not only getting youngsters to play golf but breaking the cycle of juvenile crime.
The R&A has given a grant of £1,000 and 10 sets of junior golf clubs to the Perth based police scheme which is aimed at steering children away from anti-social behaviour. Led by community safety officers of Tayside Police, the initiative is also seen as an excellent way to offer children some positive and healthier lifestyle lessons through golf.
Duncan Weir, golf development secretary for the R&A, said they were delighted to support such a worthwhile project. “If young people can take up golf at an early age they can play it for the rest of their lives,” he added. “It’s a worthwhile, outdoor activity, which can be played in a group or alone. We are keen to support Tayside Police in getting more youngsters involved in the game.”
The scheme has attracted the backing of a number of other organisations including the Golf Foundation, the Youth Justice Management Group and community education and social work departments. Following training from the Golf Foundation, community officers have been visiting primary schools across Perthshire and running fun golf sessions for pupils using the Golf Foundation’s Tri Golf Initiative – a shorter version of the traditional game with weighted plastic clubs, foam golf balls and a choice of structured games to play safely with a large group of children in a restricted space. So far, 400 hundred children have been introduced to golf in their school environment through the project.
“It’s a good fun game which teaches the etiquette of the game of golf while also encouraging young children to play the game safely,” says PC Natalie Simpson of Tayside Police’s community safety division. “If the children show an interest in this’short’ game, they are then offered the opportunity to have lessons from Niall McGill, the golf professional at Noah’s Ark Golf Range.”
“We are looking for a way of being able to include kids across the whole spectrum and this is perfect because it isn’t limited – we have some children with disabilities taking part in the project. The grant from the R&A will help the project provide structured follow-on coaching using the Golf Foundation’s Merit Award Scheme with PGA professionals at both Noah’ s Ark Golf Centre and Craigie Hill Golf Club. Already we have a list of 60 children who want to progress on to full coaching and plans for a junior Golf Club at the North Inch Municipal Golf Course in Perth supported by Perth and Kinross Council.”
Anyone who would like more information on Tayside Police’s Tri-Golf initiative or would like to offer support can contact the community safety officers on 01738 842642.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org