Excitement and anticipation is growing amongst the team of young people chosen by Surrey Golf to be their Young Ambassadors for the BMW PGA Championship, which takes place at Wentworth Club from May 24-27.
Those chosen will be helping to run the practice ground and operating one of the scoreboards, working alongside some of the world’s best golfers at The European Tour’s Flagship Event.
Earlier this month the group got together again at Wentworth Club, where they had an interesting day’s training at the Golf Foundation’s Junior Golf Leaders workshop.
They also enjoyed being shown around the famous clubhouse and facilities, and additional excitement was provided by celebrity spotting during the BMW PGA Championship media day, held on the West Course.
Young Ambassador Nick Rowlands proudly showed off Petr Cech’s autograph, which he had obtained as the Chelsea goalkeeper came off the course. Former sporting stars Tim Henman, Matt Dawson, Mark Bright, John Virgo, Peter Fleming and, from television, Chris Hollins, John Inverdale, Rishi Persad, Robert Lee and Sarah Stirk were all spotted.
The Ambassadors were also interested to learn that John Jacobs, the founder of The European Tour, was also at the club that day along with fellow professionals Sam Torrance and Michael King to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Tour’s inauguration.
Since they have been recruited in February, the Young Ambassadors have been busy working on golf projects in clubs and schools encouraging children, young people and adults to take their first steps in golf, assisting PGA professionals to coach and extend their outreach work to local communities around World of Golf (New Malden), Horne Park, Milford, Redhill, Pine Ridge, Goal Farm, Coombe Wood and Clandon Regis Golf Clubs.
The Junior Golf Leaders workshop that they were engaged in at Wentworth helped them become more effective at what they were doing, teaching them communication and motivation skills and increasing their confidence in supervising games.
In the afternoon, they went out onto the driving range with PGA Regional County Development Officer Fiona Brown and in groups created and designed new golf games for children to play using Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme equipment. An example of one of the golf games created on the day, called the “Weakest Link”, can be seen on the official Surrey Golf You Tube Channel (you tube.com/SurreyGolfofficial).
Workshop leader Andy Wright, Golf Roots Co-ordinator for the South East, said that he was “very impressed” with all that he had seen from the Young Ambassadors at Wentworth Club.
One of the Ambassadors, Ben White, said: “This training would help me become a better communicator and a better coach on Golf Roots projects. I have learned new teaching skills which will help make golf learning more interactive and encourage children to become more engaged and enjoy what they are doing.”
James Desanges said he felt the training would help towards obtaining a Level 1 coaching qualification. He added: “We are all bonding as a group and they are a great group of people.”
Pierre Marini, an exchange student from France who is also President of the European Organisation of Youth, said: “I am enjoying this opportunity of a lifetime. Everyone in the team is friendly and very nice.”
Merrist Wood College student Tom Shaw has been working on social media projects for the group, setting up a dedicated twitter account (@eurotourlegacy) so that the Young Ambassadors can share information and blog about their experiences.
Tom said it was “an awesome opportunity to work alongside the world’s best players and to see the action right close up”, a view shared by Adam Hulin and Raphael Akkouche, also from the College, who said it had been “a fun experience meeting new people”, and that the Championship would be “our time to shine“.
Novice golfers Samantha Hopkins and Sandy Mesiah have gradually been learning to love the game as much as the others. Sam has been taking lessons at World of Golf (New Malden), and says she hopes that she can be an example to encourage more women to take up the game. Sandy said: “I have undergone a U-turn, from thinking golf is boring to feeling excited about being involved in my first ever golf tournament.”
Surrey Golf’s Young Ambassadors will be working at the BMW PGA Championship from May 21-27, so look out for them in their distinctive blue uniforms.