England’s summer of Olympic and Paralympic sport has inspired thousands of people to have a go at golf.
Seb Coe – the man behind London 2012 – can be counted among them. Lord Coe teed up (pictured) during a tour of the free sports arena on Weymouth Beach, close to the Olympic and Paralympic sailing events.
Up and down the country people joined him to grab the chance to try golf at grass roots events which helped celebrate the Games.
They were staged by the country’s network of County Golf Partnerships, which work to grow the game, and backed the England Golf Partnership’s Get into golf campaign.
• Thousands of visitors flocked to the Get into golf stands at the live sports arena in Weymouth during the Olympics and Paralympics.
• While Bradley Wiggins was winning Olympic gold in the cycling time trial, the Surrey Golf Partnership offered free taster sessions.
• As massive crowds flooded the Cheltenham racecourse for the Torch Relay, the Gloucestershire Partnership was on hand to tempt new and returning golfers. Torch relay events up and down the country were hugely successful in creating interest in the sport. Derbyshire, Suffolk, Cornwall and Essex were just some of the successful Partnerships to reach out to the crowds.
• Golf had its own torchbearer: Jim Pocknell, the chairman of the Kent Partnership carried the Olympic flame in Deal and has used the experience to inspire many people to try the game.
Golf will once again become an Olympic sport in 2016 and England Golf’s South East regional development officer Andy Willems remarked: “The feel good factor has certainly swept the nation during the Olympics and Paralympics. I am delighted that golf had an opportunity to be part of ‘inspiring a generation’ to get active and involved in sport.
“If we can sustain and harness this enthusiasm over the next four years to the Rio Games, we have a real opportunity to show how vibrant and viable golf can be!”
Steve Peet, the East regional development officer, added: “ These events put golf firmly in the public domain, alongside other sports, and helped to promote the ‘Get Into Golf Centres’ in each county and show the game is accessible and available to all.”