Birdies and eagles at St Osyth as youngsters launch innovative golf course projectEagles could become a familiar sight in Clacton-on-Sea thanks to a school golf project which combines fun, sportsmanship and learning.
Recently, children from St Osyth C of E Primary School teed-off on the first finished course of 10 commissioned school ‘Tri-Golf' courses in England and Wales to be built in 2017.
Deputy Head Teacher Paul Bertram is a big believer in the benefits of sport for young people and, after children from the school were excited to see birdies and bogeys on a trip to the European Tour’s British Masters golf tournament in October, Paul learned about the potential to receive funds from national charity the Golf Foundation to build a Tri-Golf course for St Osyth. It is one of 10 schools to be selected for such a project this year thanks to funds from a legacy by supporter of the charity Mr Anthony Slark.
The Golf Foundation is working with teachers all over the country and has shown through Tri-Golf in the classroom or playground that the sport can offer valuable ‘Skills for Life’ for youngsters, while also helping with literacy and numeracy learning as part of the curriculum.
Working with the Foundation’s Regional Development Officer Daisy Brierley, local PGA Professional Tom Hide (Coastal Golf Academy) constructed the course for the school for under £1,500 with Foundation funding. The course has six holes, tricky greens, bunkers and even flower beds as hazards.
For the recent grand opening, the young pupils wrote to parents and other invited guests, prepared the competition with the PTA, helped with refreshments and manned each hole to welcome the adults as they joined the children for the first tournament on the new links. Titleist, the Golf Foundation’s Official Golf Ball Partner, provided golf balls for all the youngsters and parents involved to inspire them further.
Paul Bertram said: “Thanks to the support of Tom and Daisy we now have our very own Tri-Golf course which is very exciting! We believe sport can really help youngsters in teaching resilience and perseverance and golf is great for this as you can never get it right first time.
“We also believe that golf can help pupils on the autistic spectrum because of its disciplines in repetition and the focus needed. Thanks to this support from the Golf Foundation we now look forward to holding regular events in which children from other schools can come along and enjoy a warm welcome at St Osyth.”
Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle was also a guest at the course opening. He said: “The Tri-Golf course looked superb and adults and juniors played together in pairs to celebrate the day in a great atmosphere. Young Kalyia, who I played with, scored an eagle 3 on the long par 5 hole, chipping in from 30 yards. When I explained to her what an eagle was she said: ‘I’m not sure I like eagles – they eat my rabbits!’
“A first time golfing parent also got an eagle on the same hole so I think these rare birds will enjoy a few sightings in Clacton this summer and hopefully this will inspire the youngsters to enjoy some of the benefits of this sport, while the project links children to four local golf clubs in the area.”
Children who start their golf at St Osyth will be linked to the Coastal Golf Academy, which represents Frinton GC, Millers Barn Golf Park, Harwich GC and Colne Valley.
PGA Pro Tom Hide said: “The Coastal Golf Academy works with more than 10 local primary schools at present. Pupils from all over the area can now enjoy some golf at St Osyth and boys and girls who want to take the sport further are sure to receive a warm welcome from members and staff at our local golf clubs.”