Festival Proves Another Big Hit

Blyth Golf Club have held their second Blyth Festival of Golf following on from the success of last year's initiative.

Blyth Golf Club have held their second Blyth Festival of Golf following on from the success of last year's initiative.

The festival has been designed to provide two days of fun and sport for young people throughout the region by promoting and developing "grass roots golf" for youngsters of all ages who may be interested in playing golf.

In recent years, many local clubs identified a short fall in juniors especially girls. And to combat the problem, Blyth have a full junior development programme, which includes their Festival of Golf.

Steve Ellis is the Junior Development Officer at Blyth and there is no doubting his commitment to the job.

He said: "I was fortunate to be given the chance at the age of 11 to play golf. The only facilities in those days where kids could have a go were on local football and school playing fields.

"That's all stopped now with the various by-laws so we have to take golf to them. We do a lot with the schools, giving the kids a chance, an opportunity to have a go and if they like it then they can take the next step and come here for lessons.

"Our professional, Andrew Brown runs group lessons on a Saturday morning where kids meet other kids with the same interests and hopefully they will spur each other on to become accomplished golfers. We have senior golfers who have been playing for the team for 20 years and we need to create new talent and blood. The mechanism for achieving that goal is now in place and hopefully we will start to see the results over the next 18 months or so."

He added: "As a consequence, the development programme has increased junior numbers, now approaching one hundred, encouragingly, junior girls have also increased but further development is required to continue the success seen to date using new initiatives."

The two-day festival was very much a success with dozens of kids enjoying Tri Golf, putting competitions and the nine hole pitch and putt course.

A small tented village housed products from various golf equipment manufacturers along with refreshments. Representatives from the English Golf Union and the Golf Foundation were also on hand to answer questions on "Children in Golf", sources of funding, "Golfmark" and many other issues.

Steve added: "The first day, the weather was perfect and really enjoyable. We had about 200 kids here, boys and girls of various ages and again, lots of family members as well. It was a day of fun where kids experienced using golf equipment from Tri Golf through to proper clubs and the ones that were golfers had the opportunity to talk to the professionals about their swings, golf clubs that are available in the market place etc., so it was a good day out for everybody."

Steve is keen to encourage other clubs in the region to support this annual event and sees no reason why the idea cannot be enlarged upon and held at different locations in the future.

Golf North East believes Blyth Golf Club have set a precedent that can only benefit the region's youngsters and in time, the next generation of golfers.

For further information, Steve Ellis can be contacted at: www.blythgolfclub.co.uk


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