DJ Spoony, Radio One personality and ambassador for The Daily Telegraph Marriott Golf Roots programme, will be making a guest appearance at a London schools’ Tri-Golf festival in November. The festival will take place at the Metro Playgolf centre in Barnet, one of the biggest urban golf venues in the country, where DJ Spoony has been a member for several years.
A self-confessed golf nut, Spoony has been a big fan of the funky urban golf initiative, which brings golf to children in urban areas, ever since its launch in 2003, and is thrilled to be invited along to the festival.
“I’m delighted to be involved with Golf Roots for the third year running,” says Spoony. “As everyone knows, I’m a big golfer myself, so it’s really exciting to be part of an initiative that is introducing a new generation of children to the game in a way that really challenges people’s perceptions of golf as an elitist sport, particularly for those with limited access in urban areas.”
Now in its third year, the Golf Foundation development initiative is again proving a great success. So far in 2005, more than 45,000 children have participated in Golf Roots, many of them picking up a club for the first time through Tri-Golf, the Golf Foundation’s fun introduction to the game that uses plastic clubs and oversized balls.
Backed by Sportsmatch – and winner of the Schools’ Sports award at the 2004 – and supported by the PGA European Tour, the funky urban golf programme has now expanded into nine cities across the UK – Colchester, London, Manchester, Newport, Portsmouth, Stoke-on-Trent, Swindon, Telford and Bradford – where it will be visiting primary schools, running schools festivals and attending public events, as well as training adult volunteers to become Junior Golf Leaders.
Children across the UK will be given the opportunity to pick up a club to play Tri-Golf during curriculum time throughout October and November, when they will also have the chance to take part in inter-school tournaments.
In addition to the schools activity, Golf Roots also gives children and adults the chance to have a go at golf in a relaxed and fun environment by hosting open days in each of the nine cities – where everyone is invited to experience golf with the expert guidance of the local Golf Roots team. The initiative already played a major part in the junior Great South Run in Portsmouth, when Golf Roots formed part of the “sports village”, a series of activities that had been organised on site, giving kids the chance to try out various different sports throughout the day.
Other events which gave youngsters the chance to have a go at golf for the first time include the Swindon Mela, the Colchester Free Festival, and, more recently, a family fun day, hosted by Horsehay Village Golf Centre in Telford.
Keith Perry, sports editor, The Daily Telegraph, sees Golf Roots as an ideal way of challenging perceptions about the game, “The Daily Telegraph is dedicated to golf with a team of top writers, as well as our support for professional golf events and our own junior golf programmes. Golf Roots is trying to make golf more accessible to a wider audience by supporting the game at a grassroots level, which we hope will attract more and more young players to the game.”
Alan Parker, chief executive, Whitbread Group, says, “Building on the overwhelming success of the last two years, Golf Roots 2005 is about introducing golf to new inner city kids as well as retaining the young players from previous years. This will be achieved through recruiting local volunteer Junior Golf Leaders to continue working in the inner city communities.”