JUNIOR GOLFERS COMING THROUGH THE RANKS

Young Portuguese learning the beauty of golf Os jovens portugueses aprendem a beleza do golfe
unior golf in Portugal is in full swing as thousands of young people are introduced to the sport. Partnerships between the Portuguese Golf Federation, clubs, councils and schools are building on the success of national Project Drive roadshows where children and parents are experiencing golf and have opportunities to consult with expert staff. Beginning with putting activities indoors before graduating to outside for chipping and putting and then to playing a short course, the youngsters’ development is carefully managed.

The Portuguese Golf Federation provides funding and local councils and schools are increasingly keen to become involved. Inter-school tournaments provide a competitive edge to the activities which have already proved to be socially and educationally beneficial. Young golfers between the ages of 8 and 11 years old who compete in inter-school events can qualify for regional finals in northern, central and southern Portugal. Two Algarve municipalities, Albufeira and Loulé, are staging their events at Salgados Golf course and Oceanico Victoria course respectively and there is the potential for 150 juniors to take part at each venue. Algarve regional finals will be held at Vila Sol with national finals taking place in Lisbon. These events encourage parents to become involved as they meet other parents and become familiar with staff and conditions at the clubs.

Sponsorship also looks like becoming increasingly vital for the promotion of junior golf because, of course, today’s boys and girls are tomorrow’s adults and sponsors can help young people now who will become their clients of the future. The sheer enjoyment of playing golf is seen in the happy faces shown here of our young winners from northern Portugal and it is guaranteed that their Algarve and central region counterparts are aiming to join them in the national finals. David Moura of the PGF who leads the development of Portuguese junior golf is delighted with current progress and explains his vision of a cultural change in the attitude of the Portuguese to golf. “Even if the young people do not go on to play competitive golf as adults a cultural change could mean that Portuguese will realise that golf is not necessarily an elitist activity and that it is there for them.” There is now a positive, optimistic spirit around junior golf in Portugal and with the partnership of schools, clubs and the local councils the success story is set to continue.