The National Skills Challenge, designed to encourage youngsters to get into golf, has been shortlisted for The Sports Industry Awards 2009. The English Golf Union (EGU) and the English Women's Golf Association (EWGA) worked with creative digital experts, Nemisys, to develop the online application to encourage children into the sport.
The National Skills Challenge has played a key role in a number of structured initiatives, delivered by the EGU and EWGA, that has helped junior membership of golf clubs increase by around 8000 since 2004.
County organisations are also welcoming the positive results and 26 have registered to deliver the activity locally to complement the work undertaken at national level.
Promoted through golf clubs, the initiative divides children into appropriate age groupings and invites them to enter either the 'Rookie' Challenge or the 'Tour' Challenge.
Clubs then run Challenge events three times a year and players' scores at each of those events are input via the Skills Challenge website, building performance 'leaderboards' at club, county and national level.
This online element allows youngsters to continue and share their golfing experiences outside of the club itself, either at home, at school or wherever they have access to the Internet.
The National leaderboard, once complete, identifies the top players from each group who are invited to the National Finals held at the National Golf Centre, Woodhall Spa, where they both compete and receive coaching from PGA Professional coaches.
"Both clubs and juniors love the Skills Challenge." said Richard Flint EGU/EWGA Golf Development Manager.
"We have just launched the 2009 challenge, and expect numbers to keep steadily increasing. We have a very limited budget and the online element has really allowed us to extend the National Skills Challenge's reach both inside and outside the club environment."
Kevin Fowler, Director, Nemisys, added: "We really have enjoyed working with the EGU and EWGA so it's especially gratifying to have this application shortlisted.
"It demonstrates how, with a bit of creative thinking, the web can be used to add real value to a sports body's existing activities, and help increase participation. We're getting a bit of a track record for our applications for clients winning and being shortlisted in awards."
The National Skills Challenge is an initiative jointly provided by the EGU and EWGA via England Golf's 'Whole Sport Plan' for golf and is an integral part of England Golf's vision to 'Grow the Game'.