England Golf has announced its new Junior Golf Strategy to help inspire participation, increase membership numbers and ensure longevity in the game for current and future generations of young golfers.
The Junior Golf Strategy has three main objectives at its heart:
- Increase the profile of golf in schools and communities
- Support the transition from programmes into club-based activity
- Develop the workforce supporting junior golf
England Golf will focus on a number of key areas tying in with the core aims of the Course Planner; to lead, energise and support, inspire and deliver for all golfers.
England Golf will:
LEAD through strong governance and integrity – By collating improved data and insight, promoting SafeGolf, opening up access to facilities for junior golfers, producing resources and sharing examples of good practice for junior sessions.
ENERGISE AND SUPPORT the golf community – By increasing visibility of junior golf, introducing a junior element to the ‘Give it a Shot’ membership campaign, developing junior content within our Learning and Development plan, building a database of junior contacts at clubs, and collaborating with other golf industry stakeholders.
DELIVER a more inclusive and accessible sport – By targeting initiatives with the Golf Foundation, designing initiatives to be more accessible to a diverse range of people, aligning with key national campaigns to make sure juniors are considered, and offering guidance for clubs to provide access to disabled golfers.
INSPIRE current and future generations – By engaging and training with junior captains, piloting a junior girls’ pathway in three counties, growing opportunities in events for junior golfers, and developing our existing Young Ambassadors’ network.
Underpinning the strategy is also a pledge to engage and listen to the views of young golfers while also creating a club support section specifically to support the growth of junior golf.
In addition, an audit and map of the current junior golf landscape will be produced in order to better inform future decision-making.
According to the most recent surveys, junior membership stands at around 45,000 (7% of all golfers affiliated through membership to England Golf).
A total of 1,451 affiliated clubs (82%) have a junior membership and out of 20,784 juniors registered on the World Handicap System platform, 17,188 hold a handicap index.
The Junior Golf Strategy is designed to improve on these figures and champion the game as a fun, healthy and sociable activity for young people from all backgrounds.
The Golf Foundation – a registered charity that introduces children to golf, from all backgrounds, creating golfers – aims to encourage over two million children to pick up a club for the first time over the next five years through its presence in 7,500 schools across England.
Ongoing work with PGA coaches at clubs and facilities, such as HSBC Golf Roots Centres, as well as the delivery of popular GolfSixes leagues will continue to be driven by the Golf Foundation.
In addition, the charity believes that golf can change lives and within the Junior Golf Strategy has exciting plans to expand the teaching of its life skills programme, Unleash your Drive, across all school, community and club projects.
Jeremy Tomlinson, chief executive of England Golf, commented: “There are three elements to this Junior Golf Strategy that all naturally feed into each other; encouraging juniors to play, keeping them engaged and inspiring a lifelong love of the game.
“By working closely with our colleagues at the Golf Foundation we will bring joined-up thinking to the strategy in order to strengthen the links in this chain.
“We are determined to promote the message that golf is a game for everyone, no matter their age, gender, ethnicity or ability.
“If we can inspire children to pick up a club and have fun with their friends then this is a gift that will stay with them for life and make our game strong for generations to come.”
Brendon Pyle, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, added: “We are excited to be working in partnership with England Golf on a new Junior Golf Strategy that will help to introduce more young people to golf, from all backgrounds, creating golfers.
“Insight from core stakeholders within the sport as well as lessons learned from similar organisations outside of golf has helped to guide the new strategy that will help our sport to attract and retain a new and diverse audience of young people.
“Within the strategy, we also recognise the role that golf has to play in helping the mental wellbeing of young people across society and how important it is that we engage with a variety of national and local community groups to help make our sport more accessible and to promote its benefits more widely.”
Katie Amos, one of England Golf’s Young Ambassadors, is delighted juniors will be encouraged to play an active part in shaping the game’s future.
She said: “As Young Ambassadors we make sure young people’s voices are heard and aim to encourage, attract and retain more juniors into the game of golf.
“England Golf and the Golf Foundation are always here to support and help young people achieve their goals.
“We will look at things from a junior perspective. We understand the ideas and thoughts of young people as we look to promote participation in the sport.”