The R&A has supported a new development initiative in Oman that will create more opportunities for school children to participate in golf activities.
Golf is a relatively new sport in Oman and the Oman Golf Committee has introduced ‘Soft Golf’, which is designed principally for primary and junior school aged pupils, as part of its mission to introduce the sport to new audiences and establish golf as one of the country’s leading national sports.
The R&A has provided golf equipment to the Oman Golf Committee to give it the capacity to grow the Soft Golf programme in fifteen schools, its target for year one, and the equipment will be used by youngsters in PE sessions and after-school activities to have fun and learn about playing golf.
Soft Golf equipment is easy to use for both pupils and teachers alike and ideal for beginners new to the game. The oversized design of both club faces and balls makes it easy to learn the fundamentals, while staying safe and coordinated at the same time.
Supporting resources are also provided to teachers to give them ideas for fun golf activities that can be included as part of PE lessons and educational curriculum, while the equipment is durable and easily transported between different locations.
By promoting the game as an extracurricular activity, it is hoped that Soft Golf will become an integral activity within schools’ PE curriculum.
Local PGA Professionals will also be allocated to schools as mentors to help support effective delivery of the ‘Soft Golf’ programmes, including educating teachers on the games that can be played.
For youngsters who demonstrate promise and commitment during the Soft Golf activities, a fully-funded scholarship from Golf Oman and the opportunity to join the PGA Professionals’ junior programme at nearby clubs are the rewards on offer.
Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Working for Golf, said, “We are delighted to support the Oman Golf Committee’s vision of increasing the available opportunities for youngsters to experience golf and learn new skills as part of the school curriculum.
“Soft Golf can be an excellent introduction to the game and it will hopefully inspire those pupils trying it for the first time to take up golf as a regular sporting activity.”
Lee O'Donoghue, Golf Director at the Oman Golf Committee added, “Introducing the game of golf to youngsters in schools is critical to the long-term success of our strategy to grow the sport in Oman.
“The Soft Golf programme would not have made it off the ground without the support of The R&A who have provided all the equipment to date, which is vital for integrating the game into schools’ PE curriculum and also run after-school activities.
“The R&A has given us the capacity to grow the programme in Oman and we have benefited from the excellent guidance they have offered us since the first grass course opened eight years ago.
“The foundation for golf in Oman is already in place with a fifth championship course opening in early 2017 but it is critical to create a strong domestic golfing audience and the Soft Golf programme is one of many initiatives Golf Oman, with the support of The R&A, has launched to achieve this.”
Adults and youngsters will also have the opportunity to give golf a go at the European Challenge Tour’s NBO Golf Classic Grand Final, being played at Almouj Golf in Oman next month.
The R&A has agreed to fund the provision of a SwingZone, being delivered by the Oman Golf Committee at this event, which will allow spectators to enjoy expert tuition from PGA coaches on the specially commissioned putting surface.
The SwingZone proved a hugely popular attraction among golf enthusiasts at The Open at Royal Troon last year and offers a unique opportunity to receive world-class tuition on skills of the game from highly qualified individuals.