‘England Futures’ aims to provide targeted support to England’s most talented young golfers during perhaps the most critical phase of their development – when they need to manage their academic work with the progression of their sport skills.
This is a joint initiative launched by the English Golf Union (EGU) and English Women’s Golf Association (EWGA) and utilises funding linked to the Advanced Apprenticeship in Sporting Excellence (AASE) programme, a government funded scheme developed by ‘Skills Active’, the skills sector council for sport.
England Futures is fully endorsed and supported by The England Golf Partnership, a partnership made up of all of the major governing bodies in English Golf including The PGA, the English Golf Union, the English Women’s Golf Association and the Golf Foundation.
The AASE lasts for two years and is open to players aged 16-19 who are in full-time education studying A-levels (in any subject) or BTEC qualifications (in sports related subjects). The programme combines the existing academic study with a carefully structured golf development programme which is encompassed within an NVQ in Sports Performance and Excellence.
This qualification is specifically designed to foster the development of the aspiring elite golfer as well as providing progression routes into Higher Education (for example, The PGA’s Foundation Degree) and other careers within the sport.
For England Futures, The EGU and EWGA are looking for young people with the drive and commitment to do their best both academically and within their golf training. Each England Futures player will already have a track record of playing competitive amateur golf to a high level, nationally or within their region.
In return the England Futures player will receive top class coaching from specially selected England coaches, a complete package of sports science support including bio-mechanics, strength and conditioning and psychological training, as well as additional resources to meet competition and tournament expenses.
Peter Mattsson, Director of Coaching at the EGU, said: “The fact that a player can combine their studies with their golf into one package is fantastic. Players will be guided to ensure that their competitive and training schedules are organised so as not to impact on study for exams in the middle of the competitive season, the added advantage of course is that with this programme the experience gained during the competitive season contributes to their studies!”
The England Golf Partnership is specifically looking to encourage more girls to participate in the initiative. Linda Bayman, Performance Director at EWGA, said: “The scheme is ideal for girls looking to further their careers in the game at a time when they are put under pressure to follow an educational pathway. AASE is the best of both worlds, education, leading to a career or a place at university coupled with a golf training programme which could lead to a life as a professional.”
There are a limited number of places on the programme and so far candidates have been invited to apply through the EGU and EWGA network. Young players can still apply for a place on this initiative up until the end of the year and it starts in the spring of 2010. Application forms are available on www.englishgolfunion.org and www.englishwomensgolf.org The closing date for applications is 31st December 2009.