Professional football clubs in England are helping young people get into golf thanks to the Golf Foundation. The R&A provides £400,000 to the Golf Foundation each year as part of its continued investment in golf development and education.
Keen golfer and former footballer Mark Bright was a guest as the Golf Foundation and Crystal Palace FC Foundation created a special nine-hole course at Selhurst Park.
Bright, who made over 200 appearances for Crystal Palace from 1986 to 1992, helped the schoolchildren attending the event to complete the course, including hitting shots down the tunnel, chipping into the dugout, shooting into the goal, driving from the stand onto the pitch, and putting in the trophy room.
The creative format of the game is known as ‘StreetGolf’ and gives young people the chance to design their own course to suit their environment. StreetGolf offers an immediate link to a range of local community sports projects across the UK and signposts further opportunities for youngsters at golf facilities in their area.
Crystal Palace is the latest Premier League team to offer golf as part of their Premier League 4 Sport (PL4S) programme. Eighteen professional football clubs now work with the Golf Foundation to help deliver HSBC Golf Roots, which has the ultimate goal of bringing all the benefits of golf to young people as one of their favourite sports.
The StreetGolf event at Selhurst Park was made up of young people from HSBC Golf Roots projects linked to golf venues and PGA coaches throughout the region, including two schools for children with special needs. One of those, Sunnydown School, was the winner on the day.
A similar big stadium golf event was held at Derby County’s iPro Stadium the previous week with teams from Derby, Aston Villa and Stoke City battling it out in their own StreetGolf challenge.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive – The Golf Foundation, said: “The staff at Crystal Palace were absolutely superb in welcoming all the young people.
“The Premier League 4 Sport partnership is very exciting because it provides golf with the opportunity to reach a much wider audience using the power of football, telling the golf story to potentially thousands of new youngsters.”
“We are extremely grateful to the Crystal Palace FC Foundation and also to the team at Community Golf, the PGA professionals involved and the local schools.”
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Working for Golf at The R&A, said: “The R&A spends around £5 million each year in supporting golf development activity, which includes significant investment in projects across the UK. This is all made possible by the success of The Open and the revenue it generates.
“Projects that promote and help grow the sport are vital to golf development at home and abroad, and the work that The Golf Foundation accomplishes through the HSBC Golf Roots initiative is a wonderful example of how the sport can be accessed and enjoyed by all.”