Mastering the fun, inspiring the youngWe hope that all those in pursuit of a Green Jacket at Augusta this weekend remember to have some fun along the way…
Winning the iconic jacket at Euxton Park Golf Centre in Lancashire has always been about fun and the kids can each be presented with the green garment by succeeding in one of the coach’s Skills Challenges during Masters week.
Showing your new golf skills blends nicely with a slice of day-dreaming and the desire to imitate your hero on the screen, whether it is say Rory in The Masters, Dina Asher-Smith on the running track, or Phil Foden on the pitch.
Andy Leigh, Schools Manager for the Golf Foundation, has been delivering his annual Masters session at Euxton Park for the last eight years or so. He recognises that a little emulation of the golfing stars on TV can have a huge effect on the relationship that children can forge with their new sport which offers them so many benefits.
He said: “I have always loved the Masters for how it gets me excited for the golf season. As we know over the years, live sport inspires children and young people. I think it would be great to appeal to parents to expose their children to Masters’ footage. Be it live on Sky, or recording highlights that may be on late at night and then just having them playing when the kids are around.”
Andy added: “I always remember my Dad having The Open, or any live sport, on the TV. I might have been doing something else but always remember Peter Alliss’s distinct tones, seeing the key moments and then being inspired to try and emulate Nick Faldo’s swing on the driving range.”
A UK Sport report, The Inspirational Effect of Major Sporting Events, found that: “Major events are a particularly powerful way of inspiring young people to participate in sport. Nearly three quarters of spectators under 25, and half of all TV event viewers under 25, felt inspired by that experience to participate more frequently in sport.”
In the 2011 report’s foreword it quotes Lord Coe (Seb Coe) who writes: “When I was 12... I was marched into a large school hall with my classmates. We sat in front of an ancient, black and white TV and watched grainy pictures from the Mexico Olympic Games... That day a window to a new world opened for me. By the time I was back in my classroom, I knew what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be.”
However, the chief reason Andy Leigh started his Masters challenges was about the fun. The Golf Foundation team is fortunate to work with a growing number of golf venues who really embrace the fun in learning in their junior sections. From high energy relay drills, ‘Cricket Golf’, ‘Champions League’ knockout, to social events like bowling and pizza nights; while when the weather is cold, indoor dice golf, clubhouse treasure hunts, taking coaching onto the golf simulator while listening to favourite music, can all foster togetherness in any group.
If any golf club or PGA coach has new ideas about making learning fun we would love to hear from you (Contact our team here). If you have any Masters themed activity this week on social media, be sure to tag us in!
Finally, to win a real Green Jacket, you need to play outstanding golf over four days over the dizzying slopes of Augusta. Whoever dons the jacket on Sunday, presented by last year’s winner Hideki Matsuyama, will be a true champion. Have fun watching!