St Helens Golf Scheme Singled Out As Being Best In The Country

A joint golfing project between St.Helens Council and Eccleston Park Golf Club, which is introducing the sport to more young people, has been singled out as the best in the country at a major annual awards ceremony.

The Golf Foundation Presidents Awards held at the world famous Wentworth Golf and Country Club, Surrey reward inspirational junior organisers, volunteers, schoolteachers and PGA professionals.

The Laddie Lucas Award for the best local initiative went to the St Helens Golf Project. It was formed after the School Sport Partnership embraced golf within schools and developed strong links with Eccleston Park Golf Club. As a result of this, the club professional, Bryan Joelson-Mulhall has delivered golf sessions in 12 local primary schools and two secondary schools and promoted a Tri-Golf festival during assemblies.

The golf club also closed two holes to enable a family fun day to take place and by welcoming youngsters, the committee has helped to create a 600% increase in the number of junior members. A piece of land has been earmarked for a junior-only practice area and three new driving bays have been introduced specifically for the school groups. In addition, 10 retired members and 10 pupils from a local high school piloted the new Junior Golf Leaders Award and have gone on to give over 750 hours of their time as volunteers.

Rob Vaughan, the Council’s Partnership Development Manager said: "This is a great achievement for ourselves and Eccleston Park Golf Club as it recognises the club and the Sports Partnership as the best in the country for 2007. If you take into account there are 450 school sport partnerships in England alone as well as thousands of golf clubs, this is something to be really proud of."

While the biggest names in golf warmed up for this year’s BMW PGA Championship out on the course, in Wentworth’s tented village another group of hard-working and talented individuals were gaining recognition for their achievements in helping the Golf Foundation to bring more youngsters into golf.

A packed crowd of VIP guests heard eight remarkable stories of commitment to junior golf in 2007 as Golf Foundation President Ken Schofield CBE presented the awards.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: "Golf has so much to offer young people, from making friends to giving them skills for life. Working with the national golf partnerships, we are striving to introduce the sport to as many youngsters as possible from all backgrounds and abilities.

"To make this happen, the Golf Foundation relies heavily on the teachers, club volunteers, PGA professionals and development officers all working together to run innovative and exciting junior programmes. Their enthusiasm and dedication is fantastic and we were celebrating some of the best examples of their work at Wentworth".

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