1st World Conference On Junior Golf 2002
"Putting a smile on a child's face through golf, is the future of golf…"
The crucial issue of how to attract future generations to take up golf as a regular sporting activity was discussed by 300 representatives of 35 countries at the inaugural World Conference of Junior Golf in Rome in April.
In the face of fierce counter-attractions from multiple rival sport and leisure pursuits, golf took a global step towards ensuring the flow of young newcomers to its ranks. The gathering, co-ordinated by conference technical adviser Donato Di Ponziano, Director of the PGA of Europe, provided the opportunity for dialogue on the concept of making golf more attractive and accessible to teenagers.
One necessary ingredient, it was unanimously concluded, was that children must be taught that taking up golf is a passport to fun and enjoyment as well as to comradeship and sporting competition. "To put a smile on a child's face through golf, is the future golf and the future of those of us who work in the sport. Golf is fun and while we must maintain standards they do not have to be the standards of a hundred years ago" said Donato Di Ponziano. "We must always update ideas to attract children to play the game."
The in-depth three-day programme featured Workshops on the relevant topics of Etiquette, behaviour & justice; Golf & school; Introducing Children to Golf or Golf to Children; Recruiting Juniors; How much psychology and physical training?; Camps and Competitions and was concluded by Noel M Stephens of the R&A of St Andrews whose enthusiastic conclusion was to set plans in motion for the second World Conference of Junior Golf.
Meeting of Missionaries
The PGA of Europe has called a meeting of golfing missionaries to discuss future plans and policies for spreading coaching opportunities to emerging nations on a world scale. Backed by grants from the R&A, the PGAE has sent out coaches to many new golfing regions. Now the 'meeting of minds' and 'sharing of experiences' among some of those coaches will help to progress the initial work in previously unchartered golfing territories. Coaches who have worked in many different countries will attend the meeting at the PGAE HQ : Jean-Etienne Lafitte(Ivory Coast), Donato Di Ponziano(India), Peter Chamberlain(Estonia), Henk Stevens (Sri Lanka), Mark Reed (Slovenia), David Colclough(Peru), Alan Egford(Greece), Alasdair Barr (Ecuador), Sascha Orlic(Ecuador), Simon Dicksee(China). Others attending will be Nicky Lumb of the PGA of GB&I, Duncan Weir(Development Secretary,R&A) and Lawrence Thornton (General Secretary, PGA of Europe).