“If you build it, they will come…” Parkgate Primary School in Coventry did just that: two members of staff have created a unique nine-hole ‘Tri-Golf course’ in the school grounds that can now be enjoyed by 630-plus pupils and generations to come.
National charity the Golf Foundation has supported the school in its bid to create the course from the ‘concept stage’ to the grand opening in June, working together to achieve the twin aim of building a fun, authentic small course that will inspire boys and girls to try a new sport, whilst providing a powerful new learning resource that can be used regularly across the school curriculum.
At the official opening recently, CEO of The Futures Trust, Peter Thomas, Councillor Rachel Lancaster and other guests were shown the attractive new ‘parkland-style’ course measuring 141 metres with a Par of 38, which was formerly a redundant second football pitch. The earth has been shaped over evenings and weekends by a member of Site Services, Pete Davies, and Deputy Head Teacher Ben Henley, to create the feel of a full-scale course. Following the opening, children who are new to golf faced the challenge of negotiating bunkers, punishing rough, greens with tricky borrows and even a dry creek that winds through the course.
Three of the tee-boxes have the hole measurement in metres, three in centimetres and three in millimetres; there is also a practice putting green with holes laid out in a ‘clock-face’ to aid teaching time with mathematical opportunities running through the course. Further information is presented in the miniature wooden clubhouse found near the first tee. As well as the putting green, a mini driving range has also been created for use by the youngsters, while parents and teachers will also be encouraged to make use of the course (after school hours of course).
Golf Foundation ‘Tri-Golf’ clubs and balls are in play, the format which is used by the charity to introduce boys and girls to golf in the school setting in around 3,000 schools. The benefit of Tri-Golf is that it is fun for all ability levels with games that are a designed for school learning, and its easy-to-play accessibility makes it highly inclusive for children who may not always show confidence in traditional team sports.
The Parkgate Primary School course is one of around 10 school Tri-Golf courses now built in the UK and is arguably the closest example yet to the courses enjoyed by adult players. The idea behind the course came after Ben Henley, consulted with the pupils about what sport they might like to play in the vacant space.
Mr Henley said: “We were very conscious from the start that we wanted to create something that all our children might enjoy, while providing plenty of opportunities to use the facility for cross-curricular learning, including the teaching of life skills, numeracy and even creative writing, as the children all enjoy the course together as a class in the fresh air. We are delighted with feedback from all the children for our new course, so a huge thanks to everyone who played their part in its creation.”
The Golf Foundation supported the project with a £1,500 HSBC Golf Roots ‘Plus’ grant (a funding scheme for community projects supported by HSBC and the Gerald Micklem Charitable Trust). The overall cost of the course has been around £2,200. Special thanks goes to AC Lloyds in Leamington for landscaping materials and use of their flatbed truck to enable collection of resources, to Bates Timber, Coventry, King’s Hill Nurseries and also to Fairway Golf.
Paul Aitkens, Golf Foundation Regional Development Officer for the West Midlands, said: “The amount of detail, care and attention put into the design and creation of this golf course has been really amazing and inspiring. This space has been developed so well into a proper little course that the kids, teachers and parents can be really proud of. When I saw it today I was completely blown away and wanted to get the clubs out myself! Congratulations to Mrs Richards, Headteacher, and all at Parkgate School.”
Parkgate Primary is now in talks with a local golf venue to form a definite link between the school and golf centre, so that children who choose to can pursue follow-on opportunities as they learn the game.
Click here to read the Golf Foundation’s guide to creating a School Tri-Golf Course.
(Image: courtesy of Dave Warren)