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Girls rock!

GIRLS’ golf is about to get rocking in Cheshire with the launch of a campaign to inspire new players.

Girls Golf Rocks is all about having fun, learning a new sport, getting active and playing alongside friends – with no pressure. Girl golfers from county squads will act as ambassadors, sharing their enjoyment and inspiring other girls, aged five to 18.

The Girls Golf Rocks campaign tees off with taster sessions at each of the four clubs taking part: Caldy (April 23); Ringway (April 24); Prenton and Didsbury (both May 1). Three county squad girls will be helping out at each club. Following the taster sessions, when the new girls will be welcomed by the PGA professionals, there will be a 10-week structured coaching programme provided by the clubs, with the county girl players mentoring the newcomers.

After the first six sessions a festival will be held on the par three course at Westminster Park Golf Course, Chester, in June, where new young players will enjoy playing holes with their mentors, benefiting from their experience and encouragement on the course.

Emily McBurney, 16, is the Cheshire junior captain and one of ambassadors. The 16-year-old from Royal Liverpool has been playing golf since she was eight and she said: “I love it. I have made some amazing friends and visited some wonderful places throughout Cheshire. I always look forward to my game of golf – getting outside in the fresh air, keeping fit, having a laugh with my friends and just enjoying myself.

“It is a game you have for life and wherever you live you will always make friends through the game. And it is even better when you hit that perfect shot!”

Currently, national figures show that only one percent of golf club members are girls, with an average of just two per club. Girls Golf Rocks was successfully trialled in Essex last year when 90 girls tried the game, 40 went on to take a four-week coaching course; 30 played in the par three competition and six became golf club members. It’s running again in Essex this year and in eight other counties, including Cheshire.  The project is led and funded by England Golf and the Golf Foundation and supported in Cheshire by Merseyside Sport, GreaterSport and the Cheshire County Ladies’ Golf Association.

Andy Leigh, Regional Development Officer for the Golf Foundation, said: “It’s great to be able to bring the Girls Golf Rocks project to Cheshire. It has been welcomed by everyone especially the Ladies’ Association and the clubs directly involved. The idea of using county girls as ambassadors is perfect and they really understand what is needed to encourage other girls to try the game.”

Sean Hammill and Alison Lysons are county development officers for England Golf in Cheshire and are delighted to welcome Girls Golf Rocks.

Sean said: “This initiative is the perfect way for girls to get involved in golf, develop new skills and have a great time with friends.”

Alison added: “We are sure all of the girls will have a fantastic experience and we’d encourage as many girls as possible to attend one of the taster sessions and give golf a go!”

Lauren Spray, the England Golf women & girls’ participation manager, said: “Girls Golf Rocks sets out to focus on the fun, social and friendship aspects of golf rather than just the playing and coaching side and we’ve had brilliant success.

“The ambassadors have been fantastic – they all love golf and they’ve shared their enthusiasm with our new players. They’ve also given us lots of feedback and really helped us give us a presence on Facebook and Twitter @GirlsGolfRocks1.”

Girls Golf Rocks has coincided with a growing focus on the women and girls’ game and the launch of the video campaign #ThisGirlGolfs which aims to challenge perceptions and inspire participation. The video features women and girls from all over the country and from different walks of life and backgrounds who are enjoying golf for many reasons.