The England Golf Partnership (EGP) has welcomed the government’s £150m-a-year boost for primary school sport.
Golf is already a popular sport in schools and it is hoped that the new funding will help to get more children playing the game and encourage even closer links between schools and golf clubs.
The new funding arrangements, part of the Olympic Legacy, include:
• Ring-fenced money to go directly to primary schools where head teachers will decide how to spend it.
• A greater role for Britain’s sporting and voluntary organisations, including National Governing Bodies, to increase the specialist coaching and skills development on offer for primary schools.
“This is very positive news and provides an exciting opportunity for golf, which already has a strong presence in schools,” said Roger Moreland, the EGP’s chief operating officer. The Partnership brings together the amateur governing body, England Golf, and the PGA to grow the game with the support of the Golf Foundation and Sport England.
The most recent School Sport Survey, in October 2010, showed that 44 per cent of schools in England delivered golf; an increase from 14 per cent in 2004
The Golf Foundation is an established force in schools through its HSBC Golf Roots programme, which has led to 39 out of 46 English counties including golf in their School Games in the current academic year. This includes training for young volunteers to help run the events and links to golf clubs where many of the events are held.
The Foundation also works closely with the EGP’s network of County Golf Partnerships to foster links between schools and golf clubs and to encourage youngsters to progress to membership.
Brendon Pyle, the Foundation’s development manager, commented: “We have a very good structure in place with Tri-Golf in primary schools and support for PGA Coaches to work in schools and, through our new Junior Golf Passport, offering children a pathway into learning at the golf club.
“It is also significant to note that funding has now been allocated to Sportivate and Satellite Club projects for young people below the age of 14 down to 11. Golf Xtreme will form the basis of a new and exciting informal offer to this age group.
“Through HSBC Golf Roots we have been able to show that golf can be easily adapted to schools and help to develop skills for life in young people. It’s not just about playing, it’s about integrity and developing personal and social skills.”
The County Golf Partnerships (CGPs) develop links between schools and golf clubs, which are able to take advantage of a host of initiatives to support junior golf. These include the GolfMark for junior and beginner-friendly clubs, which has now been awarded to over 600 clubs; the National Skills Challenge which makes practice fun; and the Junior Organisers’ Handbook which guides those running junior sections.
The CGPs also work closely with the County Sports Partnerships which will help schools link up with local coaches, clubs and sports governing bodies.
Richard Flint, the England Golf development manager, added: “Golf is very well placed to help primary schools offer the best possible sporting experience to children. This is a time of great opportunity for all.”
Caption: Charge! School children take part in the Golf Foundation's HSBC Golf Roots programme.