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Sunday 03 August 2014

Yorke chipper about Premier League 4 Sport golf scheme

  • Dwight Yorke tried out the StreetGolf challenges at Hoylake

  • The GolfStreet challenges included chipping into wheelie bins and umbrellas

  • The Villa youngsters were rewarded for winning their regional competition

In May, Derby County held the first Premier League 4 Sport Midlands Regional Golf Competition at their iPro Stadium. In the competition, 24 young people in eight teams representing Derby and Aston Villa, who have been attending PL4Sport golf satellite clubs at their schools and local golf clubs, played nine holes of StreetGolf involving tasks such as chipping and putting on the concourse, to the side of the pitch and inside the changing rooms, with players having to chip into the players' bath.

The prize for the winning two teams, from Highfields School, representing Derby, and Bishop Walsh, for Villa, was a chance to visit The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club, Hoylake, last month. The youngsters were guests of the Golf Foundation, which supports the PL4Sport golf programme as part of its commitment to developing the game in Britain and was given the opportunity by the organisers of The Open, The R&A, to showcase its work in the middle of the action at Hoylake.

Premier League 4 Sport Golf
- Introduced Sep 2013
- Clubs offering golf: Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Derby County, Hull City, Middlesbrough, Sunderland
- 372 people playing on a weekly basis (as of 30 May 2014)

As well as enjoying the chance to see the professionals in action the PL4Sport youngsters also demonstrated the skills that won them a place at Hoylake with a series of StreetGolf challenges at the Golf Foundation area. The youngsters created their own challenges, firing shots into wheelie-bins, at tin cans and bulls-eyes and even into opened golf umbrellas.

The next day, former Aston Villa striker Dwight Yorke made a guest appearance and tried his hand at some of the StreetGolf challenges.

"I really enjoyed the StreetGolf games," Yorke said. "I can see why they appeal to teenagers who can invent their own games to suit their local environment. We didn't play any golf when I was growing up and we would have loved this.

"This is a nice partnership between Premier League 4 Sport and the Golf Foundation. I am sure it will be an excellent way for football clubs to engage with the community and bring golf to many new young people who would not have thought about playing. That’s good because it's a wonderful game to play for youngsters."

Nine football clubs around the country offer golf through Premier League 4 Sport: Sunderland, Middlesbrough, Hull City, Aston Villa, Everton, Blackburn Rovers, Bolton Wanderers, Southampton and Derby County - with local PGA coaches from local golf clubs.

"The link to the golf club is key, as is the support from the PGA coach, but we are also benefiting from the expertise of the Premier League and Championship football clubs with their own community development programmes, all of which use the power of football to encourage more young people into sport," Brendon Pyle, National Development Manager for the Golf Foundation, said.

Premier League 4 Sport began in 2009 and is delivered in partnership between the Premier League and Sport England. The aim is to use Premier League and Football League clubs as hubs linked to local community sports facilities to encourage young people to try out other sports.

The programme initially involved four sports but it has been such a success that the scheme now delivers 12 different disciplines - badminton, judo, table-tennis, volleyball, basketball, handball, hockey, netball, athletics, boxing, golf and tennis.

In the last five years, it has engaged almost 70,000 people and last year received a boost with a £16.8m partnership between the Premier League and Sport England.

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