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Nick Dougherty Has Proper Plan to Get Children Into Golf

By: | Tue 26 Mar 2024

I have always liked Nick Dougherty - and now I know why.

The former golf prodigy-turned-golf commentator and analyst is fronting the Golf Foundation’s mental toughness programme Unleash Your Drive in Schools. And there could not be a better person to do the job - he is intelligent, engaging and cares deeply about the future development of our sport.

The initiative, which was launched in September 2023, aims to get children the length and breadth of the land playing this wonderful game of ours by changing the face of mental wellbeing among young people through their introduction to golf.

Dougherty, who is president of the Golf Foundation, is spearheading the campaign, and has been at the House of Commons in the latest step in the drive to get golf into every school in the country. Praise be!

He said: "Mental toughness is important because all of the research tells us that mentally tough youngsters do better academically, career wise and perhaps most importantly in terms of their overall life happiness and resilience. We believe all golfers who have themselves benefited from golf would be happy to help us to increase the confidence and resilience of our youngsters through Unleash Your Drive.

"That is why we are asking them to Play in May and make a small donation to create a massive national benefit for young people and the wider sport."

Nick Dougherty

This is something that I have been droning on about for as long as I can remember. I simply fail to understand why it has been so difficult to get the game into our schools. It is not rocket science. In the same way that pupils routinely want to kick a football, throw a netball or reach for a cricket bat or tennis racket, there is no reason under the sun why we could not get to the same point with golf.

Stop and think about it for a minute - almost every school in the country has some form of playing field, as well as gymnasiums where golf nets could be installed. 

All around the country we have club professionals and top amateurs who could get into schools to teach the game and let our young generations discover for themselves just how magical this game can be. We have countless second-hand golf clubs being traded in to places such as American Golf - why has nobody approached them to see if those clubs could be made available to our schools?

The Golf Foundation wants to provide fully funded kit and resources to schools in areas of high deprivation in order to help them deliver the programme. It goes without saying that the key issue in all of this us funding, so every British club golfer is being asked to support ‘Unleash Your Drive in Schools’ via a special competition.

With support from the DP World Tour and Wentworth Club, the Golf Foundation is offering every British golfer the chance to sign up and ‘Play In May’, with an opportunity to play in the BMW PGA Championship Pro-Am at Wentworth. There are 40 places up for grabs in the Unleash Your Drive Final at Wentworth Club in August, and the top three players on the day will earn a spot in the Pro-Am event in September.

It is hoped that the #PlayInMay support (a £5 donation must accompany every round played) will help the Golf Foundation’s bid to extend the reach of Unleash Your Drive to every school in the UK.

More than 500 schools have already signed up to deliver sessions and the results have been incredibly positive, with a 20% increase in mental toughness reported among pupils on the programme.

Dougherty addressed a group of 100 influential individuals at the House of Commons, including MPs, teachers, golf administrators, players, volunteers, media, and Young Ambassador Ryka Verma, aged 16, who has benefitted from the  work the Golf Foundation and England Golf are doing with their joint Junior Strategy.

If you want to find out more, go to www.golf-foundation.org.

What do you think? post your thoughts and feedback on the Golfshake Forum: https://forum.golfshake.com/

Tags: Nick Dougherty junior golf GOLFERS Golf

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