The fledgling Lancashire County Golf Partnership got off to a flying start when over 200 delegates from more than 70 clubs attended the official launch at Bolton Old Links.
It means there is now a network of 32 County Golf Partnerships across England, each bringing together the county men’s, women’s and professionals’ organisations to grow the game at grass roots level.
Ian Lancaster, the county development office for Lancashire, commented on the launch: “We were overwhelmed by the turn-out. The build-up had been brilliant and the people who came here to listen to our initiatives will have returned to the clubs with some exciting ideas on how to grow the sport.”
He added: “This is the time to break down the barriers and get the message across that golf is for everyone.”
Sean Hammill (pictured), England Golf’s regional development officer, revealed it was the biggest launch attendance he’d witnessed, describing it as a “reflection on the enthusiasm for the game in the county.”
He also outlined the importance of the partnership in encouraging more people to get into golf thanks to Sport England funding.
“There’s a network of County Golf Partnerships in the country and Lancashire can now take advantage of a whole range of projects and benefits. It has a key role to work alongside clubs and driving ranges to increase participation.”
Andy Leigh, the North West Region officer for the Golf Foundation who is a member of Chorley Golf Club, said: “We are a charity dedicated to developing juniors from the moment they pick up a club right the way through to becoming a club member.
“We also offer skills for life which come through playing the game which include such things as honesty and respect. HSBC Golf Roots programme is our national initiative which is very flexible. One of our key areas is schools, but we don’t go into them without involving the local clubs. We are also involved with community groups.”
Leigh also emphasised the importance of the role of PGA professionals in teach the sport. And he made a plea to encourage more girls to take up the game.
Other speeches came from England Golf’s Paul Keeling, who explained about customer services workshops, and Beth Kay, from Lancashire Sports, who highlighted available funds for clubs.