Girls’ golf is about to get rocking with the launch of a campaign in nine counties to encourage new players.
Girls Golf Rocks is all about attracting beginners to have fun, learn a new sport, get active and play alongside friends – with no pressure. Girl golfers from county squads will act as ambassadors to share their enjoyment and inspire other girls, aged five to 18.
The campaign will return to Essex, where it was successfully trialled last year and attracted 90 girls to try the game. It will also start in Cheshire, Buckinghamshire, Dorset, Durham, Gloucestershire, Hampshire, Norfolk and Nottinghamshire.
In each county there will be free taster sessions at local clubs, supported by the squad players. These will be followed by four-week structured coaching programmes provided by PGA professionals at each of the clubs, with the county girl players mentoring the newcomers. All the girls who complete the coaching programme will be fitted with a free seven iron to help them continue to play.
The finale will be a fun par three competition in each county when new young golfers can enjoy playing alongside their mentors.
Currently, figures show that only 1% of golf club members are girls, with an average of just two per club. When Girls Golf Rocks was trialled in Essex last summer 90 youngsters were inspired to try the game. Of those, 40 went on to take a four-week coaching course; 30 played in the par three competition and six became golf club members.
Wendy Cook, the Essex county junior organiser, said: “Girls Golf Rocks was an ambitious project last year, which required the involvement of many volunteers, and the result was absolutely fantastic. I’m really looking forward to the 2016 campaign and I’d like to say to all the Golf Girls who are about to Rock: I salute you!”
The Essex ambassadors include Lily May Humphreys, the English U14 girls’ champion, who took up golf when she was 10. Lily May, aged 13, plays at Channels Golf Club and said: “I have made the best friends ever and not just girls, you can play golf with the boys as well. You also get to travel to different places and meet up with friends you’ve made from other parts of the country.”
Alex Saunders of Bristol and Clifton Golf Club is one of the new ambassadors in Gloucestershire. The 20-year-old said: “I have loved playing golf since the age of 11 and during that time I have met some amazing people and made some incredible friends. Golf is really fun sport and I’m so glad I play.”
Girls Golf Rocks is a joint project run by England Golf and the Golf Foundation with the support of county associations and sports partnerships.
Lauren Spray, the England Golf Women & Girls’ Participation Manager, said: “Girls Golf Rocks sets out to focus on the fun, social and friendship aspects of golf rather than just the playing and coaching side and we’ve had brilliant success.
“The ambassadors have been fantastic – they all love golf and they’re sharing their enthusiasm with our new players. They’ve also given us lots of feedback and really helped us give us a presence on Twitter @GirlsGolfRocks1 and Facebook.”
Girls Golf Rocks coincides with a growing focus on the women and girls’ game, with the launch of the video campaign #ThisGirlGolfs which aims to challenge perceptions and inspire participation. The video features women and girls from all over the country and from different walks of life and backgrounds who are enjoying golf for many reasons and fitting it into their everyday lives.
Visit www.getintogolf.org/ggr for more information and to book on to taster sessions.
Caption: Ambassadors for Girls Golf Rocks (© Leaderboard Photography)