Cheshire clubs play the numbers game

AndyLeigh.jpgCHESHIRE golf clubs are being urged to back a new drive to raise the numbers of juniors playing the sport.

The Cheshire Golf Development Group wants to build on the success of last year’s Girls Golf Rocks campaign in the county to deliver a further boost to the ranks of the next generation of golfers.

More than 50 clubs attended two special junior conferences to hear of plans to launch a new campaign at the beginning of April to attract those interested in giving golf a go.

Clubs are being urged to offer free taster sessions for juniors, a coaching programme to build on the interest and then a pathway into potential membership.

Sean Hammill, England Golf’s county development officer for Cheshire East said: “This is a rallying call to the clubs to bring more juniors into the game and make a real impact on the future of the sport and their own clubs. It is a chance to get youngsters involved at the start of the season and build a programme of coaching activity to keep them interested through the summer and beyond.

“There is a real appetite for young people to play golf and we think that by promoting what the sport has to offer and building strong partnerships among a club’s local community, we can see an increase in the number of juniors at clubs across Cheshire.”

Alison Lysons, who supports clubs in the west of the county, said: “The Girls Golf Rocks campaign was a real success in Cheshire last summer, bringing more girls into the sport with the offer of free taster sessions, on-going coaching and a celebration event at the end. The clubs involved built strong links to local schools and community groups and saw the benefit by creating the right kind of environment for the girls to come into and enjoy their golf together.”

The conferences, at Northenden Golf Club, and Macdonald Portal Golf and Country Club, Tarporley, heard from Lee Dolby, England Golf’s Young People manager, who reminded clubs that they can help “inspire a love for golf that lasts a lifetime.”

Birchwood Golf Club’s Graham McCormack, who has been actively involved in junior golf at club, county and England level for more than 30 years, offered a number of tips for running a successful junior section.

Andy Leigh, Golf Foundation regional manager (pictured), pinpointed the work that can be done in schools and community groups to encourage young people to get involved and how clubs can encourage them to “start, learn, stay.”

Clubs now have to express their interest in joining the programme in March with the first taster sessions from April onwards to coincide with the first Major of the year, the Masters at Augusta.

Get into golf is a national campaign run by the England Golf Partnership through its network of County Golf Development Groups, supported by Sport England and National Lottery funding.

Get into golf opportunities include FREE taster sessions and low-cost beginner courses with PGA professionals. They are a fun and sociable way to start golf – and a great way to make new friends. To find your nearest centre visit getintogolf.org and look at the activity map or call 0800 118 2766

You can follow Get into golf on Twitter twitter.com/getintogolf or on Facebook at facebook.com/Getintogolf

For more details on the work of the Cheshire GDG visit http://www.cheshiregolfpartnership.com

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