The Berks Bucks and Oxon (BB&O) Golf Partnership has teamed up with Buckinghamshire New University to launch a unique Golf Ambassadors Programme.
The aims of the programme are to provide students with real hands-on experience in the golf industry and to provide the BB&O Golf Partnership with high quality sports management volunteers.
Four second year BA (Hons) Sports Management & Golf Studies students from Bucks have been selected to work alongside the BB&O Golf Partnership in the new programme, which has been developed by Francisco Baeza (principal lecturer at Bucks New University), Justine Lawrence (Development Officer at the BB&O Golf Partnership), and Phil Beard (Volunteer Manager of the England Golf Partnership).
Justine commented: “The calibre of students interviewed was very high which made the selection process difficult, but we're delighted with the four selected and look forward to working with them. We are sure that their contribution and youthful approach will prove most beneficial to the partnership.”
The selected Bucks students are James McGilvray, Rajiv Patel, Luke Jennings and Lauren Drake, and they will be mentored by Justine Lawrence and Francisco Baeza on two separate projects.
The first project will be working alongside the county development officer in expanding the number of clubs being awarded GolfMark, which is a national accreditation scheme that identifies and recognises junior and beginner-friendly golf facilities.
The second project will be working with a number of schools within Berkshire, Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire that provide some form of golfing activities to their pupils.
The students will be working with the county development officer and the Golf Foundation in establishing the school links and providing a variety of initiatives to introduce children to golf.
They will be involved in providing thorough training to relevant organisers, a leading coaching programme to junior golfers, and the development of junior specific equipment and games to make the sport enjoyable for all ages.
The transition from school-based coaching to club-based coaching is the most difficult element to achieve, but it is the most crucial if golf clubs are to succeed in recruiting more junior members.
More assistance, better communication and overall guidance between the school and golf club is required to achieve their objective and this will be a key part of the students' role.