Golf is the latest sport to be offered in Guernsey primary schools thanks to a partnership between the Ray Lowe Sorting Foundation , the Guernsey Sports Commission, the Guernsey Golf Union and Islands golf clubs.
Pupils have the chance to experience a six-week programme introducing them to the rudiments of the sport and culminating in the chance to visit their closest golf club.
Geoff Troop, Junior Golf Development Coordinator, has been instrumental in driving the project forwards.
‘After the six weeks the pupils get the option to go and have a session at the golf club where their coach is from,’ said Geoff.
‘The club gets the opportunity to tell them all about what they offer and what junior membership options are available to them. We will also provide them with information about junior academies, summer camps etc.’
Hautes Capelles is one of the first primary schools to pilot the programme. Royal Guernsey Golf professional Natalie Goodall worked with the three Year 6 classes during the first half of the Autumn term.
‘This is the thing that I like doing most,’ said Natalie about her experience working with the children.
‘When I was growing up golf gave me ideas about organising myself and I think it gives them the chance to try something new.
‘Golf is seen as an exclusive sport, but times are changing,’ said Natalie.
Inclusion is a key part of the programme.
‘Golf appeals to different children,’ explained Geoff.
‘It’s about breaking down the barriers and making them feel welcome. We have been surprised at how well it went. The children really enjoyed it.’
The school sessions include lots of exercises designed to introduce the skills of golf but that can be delivered on a school site. Even when the weather’s bad the children get the chance to practice their putting skills by taking part in a fun crazy golf session
The programme reflects the aims of the PE Curriculum and the Fundamental Movement Skills that underpin all sports.
But one of the main drivers is to ensure the children enjoy themselves.
‘I like how they give us stuff to do and we are able to do it with our friends,’ said 10-year-old Joe.
‘We’re learning putting, driving and posture. It’s not like competitive sport but it’s fun.’
‘I like learning all different things about the posture and I find it quite difficult to hit the ball slowly,’ said Carey, also 10.
‘I’m gradually getting better and want to play on the driving range and be better than my uncle,’ she said.
Classmate Ava agreed: ‘I’ve learned quite a lot, but it was hard at the beginning. I would like to carry on.’
Geoff is delighted with how things are going and hopes that the schools’ programme will eventually lead to more junior players joining and playing at the local golf clubs.
‘It’s the culmination of a three-year programme and it’s great to see golf being on a par with more mainstream sports and being introduced to a wider cadre of people,’ said Geoff.
‘This is a great way of increasing participation in golf and really shows what can be achieved when a number of people work together – charities, the Sports Commission and golf clubs.’
Golf is also one of the twenty sports taking part in the 2021 Specsavers Youth Games.
Anyone interested in finding out more about Guernsey Junior Golf can visit their website at https://guernseyjuniorgolf.com/