Surrey Golf’s team of Young Ambassadors are gearing up for their volunteer roles at the BMW PGA Championship at Wentworth in May.
They will help to run the practice ground and operate one of the scoreboards, working alongside some of the world’s best golfers at The European Tour’s flagship event.
Earlier this month the group visited Wentworth to take the Golf Foundation’s Junior Golf Leaders workshop. They followed up with a session on the driving range with PGA Regional County Development Officer Fiona Brownto create and design new golf games for children using Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme equipment.
Their visit coincided with the BMW PGA Championship media day on the West Course and they were also able to go celebrity spotting. Young Ambassador Nick Rowlands proudly showed off Petr Cech’s autograph, which he had obtained as the Chelsea goalkeeper came off the course.
The Young Ambassadors were recruited in February by the Surrey Golf Partnership, which works to grow the game in the county. Since then, they have been working on golf projects in clubs and schools encouraging children, young people and adults to take their first steps in golf. They’ve assisted PGA professionals to coach and extend their outreach work to local communities around World of Golf (New Malden), Horne Park, Milford, Redhill, Pine Ridge, Goal Farm, Coombe Wood and Clandon Regis Golf Clubs.
One of the Ambassadors, Ben White, said: “This training will help me become a better communicator and a better coach. I have learned new teaching skills which will help make golf learning more interactive and encourage children to become more engaged and enjoy what they are doing.”
James Desanges said he felt the training would help towards obtaining a Level One coaching qualification. He added: “we are all bonding as a group and they are a great group of people.”
Pierre Marini, an exchange student from France who is also President of the European Organisation of Youth, said: I am enjoying this opportunity of a lifetime. Everyone in the team is friendly and very nice.”
Merrist Wood College student Tom Shaw has been working on social media projects for the group, setting up a dedicated Twitter account (@eurotourlegacy) so that the Young Ambassadors can share information and blog about their experiences.
Tom said the project was “an awesome opportunity to work alongside the world’s best players and to see the action right close up”, a view shared by Adam Hulin and Raphael Akkouche, also from the college, who said it had been “a fun experience meeting new people”, and that the championship would be “our time to shine“.
Novice golfers Samantha Hopkins and Sandy Mesiah have been learning to love the game as much as the others. Sam has been taking lessons at World of Golf (New Malden), and says she hopes that she can be an example to encourage more women to take up the game. Sandy said: “I have undergone a U-turn from thinking golf is boring to feeling excited about being involved in my first ever golf tournament.”