The Halesowen and Stourbridge Golf Roots project for 2009 teed off perfectly at Hagley Driving Range & Golf Academy, thanks to support from twice-winner on The European Tour Richard Finch and Ladies European Tour rising star Felicity Johnson.
The two professionals gave up their time to present a golf clinic to children from two schools in the area and launch Golf Roots for Halesowen and Stourbridge. Halesowen and Stourbridge is one of 16 urban areas in England and Wales taking part in this project run by the Golf Foundation, a charity committed to the sporting and social development of young people through golf.
Through Golf Roots the Golf Foundation aims to reach children from all backgrounds and abilities and offer them a first experience of golf and then follow-up opportunities at local golf facilities. For Golf Roots 2008, more than 7,000 boys and girls tried golf at public venue events and more than 1,150 youngsters enjoyed additional coaching at Golf Foundation Community Links centres.
The Halesowen and Stourbridge 2009 project was launched at Hagley Driving Range & Golf Academy to coincide with the official opening of this new facility. For Halesowen and Stourbridge, Golf Roots is being run by the Windsor School Sport Partnership, and this partnership will link schoolchildren in the area to three golf clubs: Hagley, Halesowen and Stourbridge, with PGA professionals at all three venues helping children to make a start with their golf.
Boys and girls from Windsor Sports College and Lapal Primary School came along to see Richard Finch and Felicity Johnson demonstrate what it takes to be top tournament golfers. The professional team at Hagley, including head professional Paul Johnson (stepfather of Felicity) and teaching professionals Simon Gabittas and Gareth Snelgrove, were also on hand to give advice to the youngsters.
Richard Finch said: ‘I think Golf Roots is an excellent way of encouraging youngsters to get into their golf. I grew up in Hull and started playing with a set of irons sawn in half and taped up. Here the youngsters get to play with some good equipment and get the right coaching early on.’
Partnership Development Manager for Windsor, Chris Jew, said: ‘This was a great day for all involved and a wonderful way to celebrate the start of Golf Roots in Halesowen and Stourbridge for 2009. I’m sure Richard and Felicity were a great inspiration to the boys and girls present and we were delighted that they could help.’
Golf Roots 2009 is supported by golf lover and BBC radio presenter DJ Spoony, Sport England through the National Sports Foundation, the Ryder Cup Trust, The European Tour and England Golf.