Graeme Storm goes back to school to follow in the footsteps of Sir HenryEuropean Tour favourite Graeme Storm has been announced as a new Ambassador for national charity the Golf Foundation. Graeme has given up many hours of his time this year to inspire children in schools through his passion for golf. He is seen as following in the footsteps of the charity’s Co-Founder Sir Henry Cotton, who started the Golf Foundation by taking golf into schools in the early 1950s.
Through its ‘Golf for All’ ethos, the Golf Foundation encourages young people from all backgrounds and of all abilities to enjoy the benefits of golf, helping to grow participation from schools into golf clubs while offering youngsters valuable life skills through the charity’s programmes.
Graeme Storm now joins Andrew ‘Beef’ Johnston and Felicity Johnson as key Ambassadors for the Foundation, all appointed in 2018. All have already contributed greatly to the charity this year.
When not competing on the European Tour, Graeme Storm still lives in Hartlepool in the North East of England, where he was born and raised. The 40 year-old is a highly popular figure in the area and apart from supporting his own local charities, last year Graeme contacted the Golf Foundation wanting to help create more young golfers in his region.
He has given his expertise to local schools and has been leading enthusiastic class coaching sessions alongside the teachers in PE, with a dynamic ‘Tri-Golf’ theme, the successful Golf Foundation easy-to-play format which now brings golf to nearly 3,000 schools and 300,000 children each year.
Tri-Golf is a key strand of the Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots school-to-club programme which offers a first golf experience to 500,000 boys and girls each year, aiming to create 15,000 extra regular club golfers per year and 5,000 extra junior members per year by 2019.
Graeme was the special guest yesterday (November 15) at the Hartlepool School Games Tri-Golf Festival and was only too happy to offer coaching, encouragement and to play alongside 100 boys and girls from 10 schools in the area. While Graeme’s attitude is refreshing and modern, his approach very much echoes the philosophy of Golf Foundation Co-Founder Sir Henry Cotton, who is believed to be the first professional golfer to offer a concentrated focus on supporting golf in schools.
Graeme has inspired youngsters in 14 primary schools so far, armed with a big new bag of Golf Foundation Tri-Golf kit, already providing an early playing experience to an estimated 420 youngsters. Graeme in turn has been encouraged by teachers to talk to the kids about his experience as a European Tour player and offer his own insights into the positive ‘Skills for Life’ lessons that golf can offer – which is a central tenet of the Golf Foundation’s Golf for All model that supports young people whatever their ability level and circumstances.
Meanwhile, liaising with Foundation Regional Development Officer Ian Harvey, Graeme’s connection with the area’s golf clubs has also helped to link enthusiastic children from schools to local PGA Professionals for continued coaching.
Independently, the European Tour player has for some time helped to mentor a number of highly promising young amateur players while providing competitive opportunities for many young golfers in the region through the Graeme Storm Junior Open and The Mini Storm Trophy. Graeme and wife Sara have also been keen supporters of local children’s charity The Finlay Cooper Fund.
Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle said: “Our team has been delighted to see such a high-profile golfer prepared to roll up their sleeves and support his community. The nature of Graeme’s enthusiastic approach reminds us all of our Founder Sir Henry Cotton’s methods, so it is great that Graeme is following in the footsteps of Sir Henry in this way. We are quite sure that Graeme will be a brilliant Ambassador; he deserves great credit.”
Graeme Storm said: “My collaboration with the Golf Foundation has been a continuation of my passion to grow the game of golf in the North East and beyond. Tri-Golf is a fantastic introduction to golf, engaging children in a fun and inclusive activity which they may not have been able to access unless through school. Although golf is seen as an individual sport, Tri-Golf can be delivered in a team capacity encouraging children of all abilities to take part. I very much hope that I have helped and continue to help to raise awareness of this great game and have encouraged schools to include this sport in their curriculum or as part of an after-school club.”
Golf Foundation RDO Ian Harvey added: “For young golfers in the North East, this new partnership will help Graeme’s work as we’ll be able to support him with more resources, while we can work together to direct discretionary funding to support schools and golf clubs for maximum impact. The net result will be very exciting for children and families new to golf in the area.”
(Picture courtesy of Andrew Bryson)