The Golf Foundation was “delighted” to play a significant role at the Betfred British Masters last week at The Belfry, as we continue to deliver on the junior strategy that was launched with England Golf in 2021.
Throughout the week, we were able to encourage young people through golf and provide opportunities to consider careers in the game: all made possible thanks to the DP World Tour and its Golf for Good programme.
The Golf Foundation welcomed local school pupils aged nine to 17 from all backgrounds to try golf for themselves, take part in fun team golf, and then enjoy the whole experience of being part of a leading DP World Tour event.
Older students also explored a unique opportunity to learn more about wider careers in golf, a connection inspired by Craig Tracey, MP for North Warwickshire & Bedworth, who is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Golf Group in Westminster.
Thinking about careers in golf
Mr Tracey worked closely with the DP World Tour and the Golf Foundation to arrange visits for pupils from four schools as the Tour continued its ‘Golf Futures’ programme, that offers careers advice to regional schools during its events. Alice Lowe, a leader in educational development with the Golf Foundation, was able to support these presentations at The Coleshill School and Ash Green School, working alongside Laura Yapp, Junior Participation Manager for England Golf: the two bodies working together on the national Junior Golf Strategy in schools, communities and golf clubs.
The Year 12 pupils were then given an ‘access-all-areas’ tour at the Betfred British Masters to understand how the DP World Tour stages a special experience for around 150 professional players and thousands of spectators, including from hospitality and tournament operations to the workings of the media centre.
Craig Tracey MP said: “I thought the Golf Foundation team was amazing and we had brilliant results from the junior school event and the careers sessions. I was so impressed with the youngsters taking part who were a credit to their schools. I hope this career guidance can help to raise the aspirations of young people in this area, while golf can be a great sport for them to try with numerous benefits. Four schools attended and already three have advised they are going to add golf to the curriculum from next year, which is a fantastic result for all involved.”
Fran Merrylees, Chief People Officer at the DP World Tour, added: “Golf Futures is a new initiative within our wider Golf for Good programme and is focused on leaving a lasting legacy in the communities we visit each season by educating and inspiring future generations, from a range of backgrounds, on the opportunities that come from following golf and the careers available in live sport and entertainment. At last week’s Betfred British Masters, we managed to give 180 students of all ages, from multiple local schools, a fun and engaging experience – whether that be golf lessons delivered in conjunction with the Golf Foundation or getting students behind the scenes and learning about the various career options within the sport. The feedback we have had from students and teachers has been fantastic.”
Alice Lowe added: “We were delighted and proud that we could support the DP World Tour team in the Golf Futures presentations and workshops, also backing England Golf. We challenged the students to think about how they would run their own golf tournament and they all did a brilliant job. Helping school students with careers training towards golf is a growing part of our work as a charity that seeks to empower young people and give them the life skills that can enhance their development. We would like to offer our thanks to Craig Tracey for playing such a key role in engaging with the local schools, which helped link the youngsters and teachers to our charity and to this DP World Tour event, which has been important for this area of the West Midlands.”
School to club vibe at The Belfry
Some 30 youngsters from Race Leys Junior School and Outwoods Primary School took part in a School Games festival on the Tuesday (June 27), using easy-to-play Golfway kit that is being rolled out in schools all over GB&I by the Golf Foundation, helping kids to learn the fundamentals of the game and life skills to help with their confidence and wellbeing. Following this first taste, the boys and girls enjoyed a tour of the iconic Belfry venue thanks to the DP World Tour, sampling all the fun of the spectator experience including receiving their own golf learning clinic from the professional Tour players on the practice range.
Meanwhile on Wednesday, five local golf clubs (Shirley GC, Olton GC, Walmley GC, Leamington & County GC and two teams from Stonebridge GC, including an ‘all girls’ team) provided teams to play in a GolfSixes League tournament which was staged on the PGA National Course just an iron shot away from the action with the top professionals on The Belfry’s famous Brabazon course. The fun, inclusive six-hole, six-a-side team format has been a huge hit (more than 750 golf clubs are expected to play the Golf Foundation GolfSixes League format in 2023), with many schools scheduled to enjoy their own ‘Mini Leagues’ this year, while the DP World Tour is taking GolfSixes into Europe.
Five-time DP World Tour event winner David Howell said of GolfSixes: “It’s just a really welcoming environment for kids to get involved in the game… Everything about it is absolutely perfect for young kids to get into golf.”
The DP World Tour also hosted a careers stand at the tournament with the Professional Golfers’ Association. The PGA is a partner of the charity and the careers stand provided an additional opportunity for the Foundation to promote the work of its Young Ambassadors and present case studies to demonstrate how a number of England Golf/Foundation Young Ambassadors have recently found fulfilling work in the golf industry.
Alice Lowe added: “Our Young Ambassadors present on the stand – Ryka Verma, Olivia Whittle, Emily Horsted and Henry Price – showed great enthusiasm. As young volunteers they exemplified the positive values created by a healthy golf environment.”