‘Skills for Life’ is a concept based on the belief that children and young people are able to develop playing skills and personal skills through Golf Foundation initiatives, which will benefit them for the rest of their lives.
Golf places strong emphasis on good sportsmanship, self-discipline and behaviour and, therefore, is an ideal medium through which children and young people can further develop personal skills such as honesty, respect, co-operation, perseverance, concentration and self motivation – which they can carry through to adulthood.
In developing the principle of Skills for Life, the Golf Foundation consulted widely with a number of education and junior golf specialists including The First Tee programme in the USA. It also commissioned its own research in the UK via Professor Stuart Biddle at Loughborough University. This understanding and application of Skills for Life is core to all of the Golf Foundation’s delivery programmes – in schools, golf clubs and communities. For example, the Junior Golf Passport contains a complete section on Skills for Life at each stage of the learning programme, beginning with safety and honesty, followed by respect, commitment, communication and leadership. Practical examples of each category as well as how to deliver each life skill are provided within the lesson plans but coaches and deliverers are encouraged to add their own examples of life skills in golf.
The Golf Foundation’s successful school festival format, now delivered extensively to primary age children across England as part of the School Games, contains goals on achieving specific life skills that are assessed within each game by the sport’s leaders. For example, a team will be rated on how well they worked together and supported each other on a specific game. At the end of the festival, an award is made to the team of pupils who scored the highest on Skills for Life. We have noted that the Skills for Life award is as important to the children as winning the competition.
The Golf Foundation has further developed its focus on life skills by offering a Skills for Life trophy to 600 golf clubs to help them reward and acknowledge juniors that demonstrate the key personal and social skills wider than playing well. The charity has also commissioned the ‘Unleash your Drive’ research project involving PGA coaches and juniors to actually measure the impact of teaching core Skills for Life traits on the juniors and their behaviours.
Find out more about Skills for Life in our HSBC Golf Roots Plus Impact Report