Golf more popular in schools than football
Golf is now played at schools so much that it is on more English schools’ curriculums than football, according to new data.
The junior golf charity, the Golf Foundation, has revealed that its 2013 ‘HSBC Golf Roots’ programme in schools has been selected by 39 out of 46 county local organising committees (LOCs) for the current academic year for English schools’ games’ curriculums.
This makes it the second most popular sport in schools, behind athletics, but ahead of all other sports, including football, netball and cricket.
It also follows the news that nearly two-thirds of all English golf clubs have links with local schools, according to the recent England Golf survey of its affiliated clubs.
The Golf Foundation’s national development manager, Brendon Pyle, said that golf in schools is a competitive, fun and energetic experience for children of all ages and abilities, in inclusive team environments.
“Every one of the golf formats in schools is designed to get youngsters using their natural energy in team relays, golf against the clock, healthy competition,” he said.
“Underpinning all this are ‘life skills’ messages present within golf as a sport; skills like honesty in scoring, good sportsmanship, determination, concentration and co-operation with fellow players.
“This is one of the reasons golf and HSBC Golf Roots is proving so popular in schools. Our formats create fun competition that all the pupils can enjoy, while being challenged to play at their best and think about their team-mates.”
Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme are adapted forms of traditional golf that have been a hit with all age groups from five to 16. Introduced in 2012, ‘Super Sixes’, in which six youngsters play six holes in 60 minutes, appeals to a variety of year groups and has been used for inter-school leagues.
Brendon added: “While new formats have been really popular with young people, we have also enjoyed great feedback from teachers and sports officers up and down the country for the level of training we have been able to provide.
“The new Ofsted report on PE and school sport highlights issues in primary schools where teachers are not receiving adequate training to deliver an effective PE experience. As a golf charity that has been involved with schools for many years now, we are fortunate to have built very strong relationships with teachers, training over 10,000 since 2002 in England.
“Our delivery of this training has been nationally recognised for its high standards and flexibility to support the teacher in creating an excellent PE experience for all of his or her pupils. The reduction in funding to school sport partnerships in October 2010 has meant less access to primary school teachers and along with many other sports we welcome the Youth Sport Trust’s call for a greater focus on supporting PE teaching in primary schools.”