An ambitious new scheme to attract schoolgirls into golf by combining sporting skills with leadership skills is having an impact in Cardiff.

The Leadership in Sport – Girls to Golf programme has been running at Whitchurch Golf Club in Cardiff in partnership with Llanishen High School. It blends practical golf sessions with theory sessions focused on enhancing leadership skills and other essential life skills for pupils aged 12 – 13.

Wales Golf, Whitchurch Golf Club, Civil Service departments, Cardiff Commitment Curriculum Team, Soroptimists International Cardiff and District, and other key agencies have all joined forces to design and deliver the programme.

It was inspired by Sally Little, an iconic LPGA figure, whose influence has been a source of motivation for the Girls to Golf development.

Enhancing employment opportunities

The programme highlights how sport requires a range of transferable skills which may enhance employment opportunities. The goal is for every participant to feel they’ve gained lifelong skills by the end of the six-week scheme.

Zoe Davies, Wales Golf Community Co-ordinator and ED&I Project Lead, explained: “This scheme introduces golf to girls who may not have otherwise received the opportunity to experience the sport.

“The focus is around introducing golf as a sport for life, as well as promoting the skills involved in promising career opportunities within the sport and wider employment sectors.

“Most golf clubs across Wales have a predominantly male membership, so we are working to make that more balanced.

“Our hope is that we can offer this programme to more schools in the future.”

Kim Ann Williamson, MBE, founder of the programme and Whitchurch Golf Club volunteer, added: “The inspiration from Sally Little enabled us to develop a local Leadership in Sport - Girls to Golf programme which has been designed and developed to be delivered on a multi-agency basis.

“Our ambition is to spark curiosity in young girls, introducing them to the game of golf whilst enhancing their leadership skills and wider life skills.”

Kate Martin, Health and Wellbeing Lead on the Cardiff Council Curriculum team, said: “This has been such an exciting project to be a part of - creating a space for girls to develop as confident individuals as they discover, experience, and take their place in a future filled with limitless career opportunities.”

One of the guest speakers at the sessions was Danielle Jordan of HMPPC, the prison probation service, who won 89 caps for Wales in hockey and represented Great Britain at under 23 level.

“My session was on teamwork and leadership, pitching to them about who their role models are, and to get them to reflect on that.

“It is part of working as a team - how you pick each other up, celebrate each other’s successes, communicate, work together, lead, overcome disappointment – all those are transferable.

“I only did this sort of scheme in hockey when I got to a certain level, so this is a big opportunity for the girls. Hopefully it is nice for them to hear from someone from another sport.”

Whitchurch Clubhouse Manager, Christian Bannister, added: “The club is delighted to support this scheme and it is great to see the girls working out on the course with our staff and volunteers, as well as learning in the clubhouse.”

As a follow up, there will be a Girls to Golf Pathway, for them to navigate their way and on into the Junior Nights opportunities, offered by Wales Golf.

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