National golf final has its roots in footballIt’s coming home: the Golf Foundation’s grass roots National StreetGolf Final makes a welcome return to The 3 Hammers Golf Complex, on the course designed by Sir Henry Cotton, founder member of the Golf Foundation.
Tomorrow (June 21), for a third year, the junior-friendly Wolverhampton venue will be the perfect par-3 facility for young StreetGolf players brand new to the sport, while interest around the World Cup is being used as a backdrop for kids from all over England who only last winter would have been dreaming more of Messi’s miracle runs than Rory’s magic chip-and-runs.
In recent years, the StreetGolf Final has been built on positive local relationships with community projects in urban areas more known for football than golf, so it is perhaps fitting that the 2018 final falls days after the England team created a buzz nationally, adding to the thrilling year of StreetGolf activity for young people across 10 regions of England, with support from Wales.
Nearly 50 youngsters in 11 teams from the North to the South have qualified through school events and regional finals, with around 70 selected school golf satellite clubs teeing it up on this golfing journey at the start of the year. These school golf clubs (supported by Sport England funding) are all linked to Golf Foundation HSBC Golf Roots Centres which welcome young people into the game at club level. The Foundation’s player pathway is bringing increasing numbers of young people from school and community to regular golf at golf clubs.
The National StreetGolf Final exemplifies the Foundation’s ‘Golf for All’ philosophy that the sport can support young people of all abilities. This child-centred, inclusive charity assists golf’s national governing bodies to ensure more youngsters ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport, while providing them with the opportunity to learn valuable life skills.
Many of the young players have just started playing golf and are now in a national final, only recently experiencing golf on an actual golf course for the first time. The boys and girls will now play 18 hole team matches in the morning while a significant portion of the afternoon has a World Cup flavour.
After taking on challenges like ‘the pressure putt’ and ‘the ten yard bucket target test’ during their morning rounds, kids from each team will qualify for a ‘World Cup’ football knock-out series where girls and boys can fire footballs at in-goal targets and the cross bar to find a World Champion.
A great addition to the football theme: one of the local StreetGolf teams taking part is the result of a charity project run by 3 Hammers in conjunction with the Wolves Community Trust, the official charity of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC and The Way Youth Zone, both of which enrich the lives of young people in the area.
Martin Crowder, National Development Manager for the Golf Foundation, said: “StreetGolf played in our satellite clubs offers a fresh and exciting taste of golf to young people from a complete range of backgrounds and abilities, including urban communities.This championship is also a great bridge from the community to local junior-friendly golf clubs.
“Football remains the major sporting influence on young people today and StreetGolf has allowed us to harness the ‘power of football’; this year’s final should be particularly exciting. The 3 Hammers is an excellent venue for this final. It’s very much a family-friendly environment for young golfers, a philosophy we want to celebrate and promote.”
During the day there will also be other challenges including a ‘longest drive’ and indoor putting competition. The PGA coaching team at 3 Hammers Golf will be giving free lessons to boys and girls taking part before play begins.
Picture: Chris Vaughan Photography