Steve is spreading gospel for golf

It's been a busy week for Steve Harper. After putting pen to paper on a new two-year contract as Shay Given's understudy at Newcastle United, he has signed up as an ambassador for Golf Roots, a junior golf initiative which makes the sport more accessible to young people in urban and inner city areas.

It's been a busy week for Steve Harper. After putting pen to paper on a new two-year contract as Shay Given's understudy at Newcastle United, he has signed up as an ambassador for Golf Roots, a junior golf initiative which makes the sport more accessible to young people in urban and inner city areas.

The 31-year-old will join local golf development officers to run a Golf Roots masterclass at a Newcastle inter-school golf festival on October 12.

He is one of the most passionate lovers of the sport among the United squad and the new keeper of the golf faith teamed up with Alan Shearer to this year win a pairs tournament at their club, The Northumberland on Newcastle racecourse.

Harper, a six-handicapper, said: "I'm delighted to be supporting Golf Roots in Newcastle this year. It's a great initiative that's opening up golf to kids who wouldn't otherwise get the chance to play.

"Like a lot of kids, I was mad on football as a youngster and didn't get the chance to start playing golf until I was much older - and I'd probably be a better golfer now had Golf Roots been around when I was at school."

Launched in 2003, Golf Roots is a Golf Foundation initiative supported by Radio One's Jonathan Joseph, aka DJ Spoony, and the PGA European Tour.

Spoony was hooked on golf by the exploits of Tiger Woods and said: "We're out to show youngsters golf is not too posh. I started playing at a driving range in King's Cross in the middle of London. About 80% of the golfers there were cab drivers and if you know London cabbies, they are not what I'd call posh.

"Celebrities used to keep it quiet if they played, but these days people like Ant and Dec, Robbie Williams and Jodie Kidd all play golf. And unlike a lot of sports, you can be individual and jazz your clothes up a bit if you want to."

The programme introduces young people to the game in a fun and informal way and helps teach fair play and sportsmanship.

This month, Golf Roots are visiting ten schools in Newcastle throughout September and running Tri-Golf sessions in PE lessons.

Children from the schools will have the chance to take part in the inter-school masterclass with Harper.

The Golf Roots team are visiting the following primary schools throughout this month - English Martyrs, Sacred Heart, St Bede's, St Joseph's, Sir Charles Parson special school, Byker, St Vincents, Tyneview, St Anthony's CE, Westgate Hill. The Golf Roots team will also be running activities for youngsters at the Great North Show in Newcastle on Saturday September 30.

This will be open to all members of the public and the Golf Roots activities will be free for anybody to come along and try.

For further information, contact Brendon Pyle at The Golf Foundation on (01920) 876200, mobile (07765) 258330, or email brendon@golf-foundation.org

* CATTERICK now have lessons from their club professional, Andy Marshall, written into the curriculum of Risedale Community College, a specialist sports college.

Catterick hope the project, aimed at students aged 14-16, will be extended to schools in their vicinity.

Anybody requiring further information, or who to contact should your club or seat of learning want to set up something similar, should telephone Catterick secretary Layman Layton on (01748) 833268.

Two Catterick juniors, Northern Ladies champion Jodie Ewart and Simon Marshall, the pro's son, are on golf scholarships in America.

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