Temple Park Centre in South Shields is used to hosting big groups of kids playing sport, and used to lots of noise. But this was something else.
Over 300 students from 32 schools were treated to a day of golfing excitement this week, as the Golf Foundation introduced them to the joy of the sport and their various fun formats that can be played with the specially adapted Golfway equipment.
All of the 300 students had some form of SEND, ranging from learning difficulties to physical disabilities, and the Golf Foundation were delighted to showcase that the sport is truly open to everyone who wants to take part.
With the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup top of the sporting news agenda at the moment, this was the perfect time to help introduce golf to a whole new audience. And the smiles on faces showed a job well done.
The event delivered alongside South Tyneside School Sport Network, was made possible thanks to partnership working with CP Sport to secure funding for schools to bring their pupils to play golf and have to opportunity to continue their golf back on school sites.
“The Golfway skills festival was a fantastic opportunity to introduce children from all across Tyne and Wear to Golf and Golfway equipment,” said Ian Harvey of the Golf Foundation. “Uptake from local schools was unbelievable, and it was great to see over 300 pupils experience golf in a fun and inclusive way. We introduce golf to children from all backgrounds as part of our mantra, but days like this and seeing the smiles – not to mention hearing the noise in this place – are what make it so worthwhile doing what we do!”
For the Golf Foundation, it’s another step in their drive towards getting golf in every school in GB&I. The charity’s Unleash Your Drive initiative was launched by President Nick Dougherty at the BMW PGA Championship recently, and offers schools the chance to receive free golf equipment and online training to deliver the programme themselves.
The six lessons within the programme are all founded on mental toughness, and are aimed at helping kids cope with the difficulties that life is going to throw at them both inside and outside of school. With the mental health difficulties that we know the younger generation are facing since Covid, this could be the perfect time for schools to embrace a new way to introduce mental wellbeing skills to the kids.
Days like this just show the power that golf can have when everyone pulls together in the same direction – let’s hope the Solheim Cup and Ryder Cup heroes can now inspire a whole new generation to keep taking up the game, and discovering the power it can have.