As Fitzpatrick prepared to tee off in Los Angeles, pupils and teachers at Tapton School received their Golfway kit bag from the Golf Foundation team to begin their own journey into golf, marking the start of training for teachers to deliver the fun and easy-to-learn golf games that can inspire children from all backgrounds to enjoy golf in school.
Fitzpatrick has previously met groups of kids at Golf Foundation events, including a special meeting with some GolfSixes League winners at the British Masters back in 2017.
Year 8 pupils (12-13 year olds) at his former school have now got access to Golfway kit, which is designed for all abilities, offering adapted equipment, energetic team games and underpinned by mental toughness tools such as concentration, self-reflection and emotional control, all designed to promote mental wellbeing. Just as Fitzpatrick will be preparing well in LA today, pupils in Yorkshire have been introduced to these mental toughness skills for the first time through golf.
As the Golf Foundation prepares to announce plans to reach every school in the country later this year, Chairman of the popular children’s charity, Stephen Lewis, commented:
“With Matt starting his first round today, it was the perfect opportunity to tee-off with the next generation of golfers at Tapton School, who I’m sure will all have a keen eye on Matt’s endeavours in Los Angeles as we all wish him the best of luck.
“As I’m sure Matt himself will have done, all youngsters starting in a sport daydream of winning the greatest events and there may be another men’s or women’s Open champion of the future at Tapton School today picking up a golf club for the first time.
“Our important job as a charity is to ensure young people from all backgrounds have the opportunity to try and enjoy all the game’s superb benefits, while our programmes are all designed to offer life skills and enhance their wellbeing. Matt was brilliant in winning the US Open last year and he will have drawn heavily on the life skills that he has learned as a golfer. It is a great sport in teaching us how to improve ourselves and Matt is a wonderful example for everyone and thus is a real credit to all at Tapton School.”
Kevin Hooper, PE Teacher at Tapton School, said: “I was fortunate to teach both Matt and Alex [Matt’s brother, also now a tour professional] and they were always an absolute pleasure to work with. We have a large photograph of Matt in a montage of inspirational sports players to show our pupils what can be achieved. We are really excited to work with the Golf Foundation and to adopt the new mental toughness programme. I can’t think of anyone who exemplifies these golfing life skills better than Matt; he is a fantastic role model for everyone at Tapton School.”
Golf Foundation training, equipment and resources are being given to teachers at the school who in turn have committed to running the Foundation’s Unleash Your Drive mental toughness programme which builds the confidence and resilience of boys and girls taking part in golf.
Foundation Schools Manager Andy Leigh said: “There has been great interest and appreciation from teachers in our Golfway format for secondary schools and the Unleash Your Drive mental toughness project. Teachers understand the value of passing on life skills in teaching and in our Golfway games we offer these elements, from the ‘square of concentration’ helping focus, to positive self-reflection and calming breathing to help with controlling emotions. We know schools need support in ensuring the mental wellbeing of pupils in these challenging times and we are in no doubt that golf can play a role through this ready-made programme which delivers useful mental toughness tools that can be used in school and beyond the school gates.”
The Golf Foundation’s schools programme wouldn’t be possible without the support of heritage partner The R&A, whose vital funding helps to introduce golf to children from all backgrounds. The schools programme, meanwhile, is a vital part of the Foundation’s Junior Strategy with partners England Golf, as the two organisations come together to help grow the game.