This partnership working project (involving the SCLGA, Golf Foundation and England Golf) came to Sussex for 2018 and, after a rigorous recruitment process, 5 coaches were selected to deliver Girls Golf Rocks at 5 venues across the county. The initial tasters at Cottesmore, Dale Hill, Haywards Heath, Rustington and Slinfold were followed by 5 weeks of a coaching programme at each of the sites (respectively by Calum Callan, John Tolliday, James Verrall, Kat Chaszczewski and Jonathan Groves) – offered at a heavily subsided price to ensure the sessions were as inclusive as possible, and price didn’t prove to be an initial barrier to participation.
The added elements of the Girls Golf Rocks project, which included a free US Kids Golf club for all participants, along with assistance in the delivery from existing girl golfers (some from the venues themselves and others that were already county level players) set this on a different level to previous work focussed on bringing new girls to the game.
And these aspects certainly paid dividends – with over 150 girls initially signing up to a taster, and 114 taking part in the coaching across the 5 venues. That number of girls has simply not happened previously, so 2018 has been giant step forward. What’s more, since that delivery in Spring, almost 80 of the girls continued in either coaching or membership over the summer. There was even a special ‘finale’ event at Slinfold, delivered by Andy Wright, the Golf Foundation South East Development Officer, Louise Simmons, County Junior Organiser, and the coach Jonathan Groves, that saw 23 of the girls have some fun and games, play on the brilliant academy course and take away some goodie bags.
All in all, the project is off to a roaring success, and year 2 planning is already well under way. Ultimately, it will be great to think that in a few years times, some of the girls of the county team will say their golfing journey all started with Girls Golf Rocks – whilst hopefully many of the girls will be enjoying club membership across the county for many years to come.