Campaign to get people to try golf to start
A major campaign designed to get people all over England playing golf for the first time is due to start in the next few days.
It will see a series of regional golf weeks featuring free taster sessions, roadshows, open days and low-cost coaching, run by the England Golf Partnership, take place throughout April and May.
The campaign starts with Cornwall Golf Week, which runs from April 6 to 14, and is followed by a project involving eight counties – Northamptonshire, Shropshire, Herefordshire, Leicestershire, Worcestershire, Warwickshire, Staffordshire and Rutland – which will run Midlands Golf Week from April 12 to 22. At the same time, Dorset Golf Week takes place from April 15 to 21. This is followed by East Region Golf Week, involving Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire, Essex and Middlesex, which takes place from April 22 to 28. North Golf Week is next, involving Cumbria, Durham and Northumberland, which takes places from April 29 to May 5. Gloucestershire Golf Week runs from May 25 to June 2, while South East Region Golf Week, involving Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and Surrey, runs from May 27 to June 2.
Elsewhere, Devon Golf Month starts on May 4 and Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire will join together to run ‘Play in May’.
Keen golfer – and former Olympian – Steve Backley has said that the combination of golf’s return to the Olympics in 2016 and this campaign can help the sport reach out to a new generation of players, and is urging people to get involved.
“If you are sociable, enjoy competition and the open air, then it’s a no brainer! But be careful though,” he said, “golf is addictive!
“My advice to anyone thinking of taking up the sport is to play lots and enjoy it. We are all failing golfers – so don’t be intimidated by it. Tee it up, give it a rip and have some friendly banter while you go and find it!
“Making golf accessible and for youngsters to be able reach out and touch the sport is imperative to the future of the game.
“In terms of the Olympics, golf needs to embrace the dedication and meaning of the games, which has made an Olympic medal so cherished, as tennis has done.”
The former javelin world record holder said he became hooked on golf as soon as he tried it.
“I was in Los Angeles with my training partner Mick Hill. He took me to the Malibu club and it was heaven. I was hooked from day one.
“We played there and then came down to earth with a bump when I came home and played on my local municipal in February. But I still enjoyed it.”
Backley has developed into an accomplished single figure handicap golfer. He now plays off six and is a member at London Golf Club.
To find your nearest centre visit getintogolf.org and look at the activity map or call 0800 118 2766.