The Bahamas Interschool Golf Program is overseen by The Bahamas Golf Federation and FOurteen Clubs Golf Academy, and is endorsed by the R&A and the Bahamas Olympic Committee. Other partners and contributors to this project are the Ministry of Education and The Ministry of Youth, Sports & Culture. The day to day operations of the program are run by Fourteen Clubs Golf Academy. This project allows all school students to be introduced to golf in PE classes, and gives them the opportunity to represent their schools the national school golf championships. This program is hugely important as it helps to change the landscape of our country. We will have more young people understanding how to dress for success, learn interpersonal skills, and other valuable life lessons along their journey with golf.
At the end of each season, the partners will conduct the National High School and Primary School Golf Championships.
The school golf program has five main goals:
To deliver the instruction where the children are – at school;
Provide a high quality, consistent program led by Fourteen Clubs Golf Academy;
Transition the children from the school to the golf facility based on competency with the curriculum;
To give the students the opportunity to represent their schools in the High School League, Primary School League, and the National High School & Primary School Championships
The objective is to deliver a consistent golf learning experience where they will learn the game through a series of group lessons and transition to the Bahamas Golf Federation junior golf program administered by Fourteen Clubs Golf Academy. By participating in this program, students will be well on their way to becoming golfers with an appreciation for the history, etiquette and fun of the game.
The program began in 2020 with its addition to the school curriculum. A special thank you is extended to Ms. Clara Storr and Mr. Evon Wisdom for their commitment to the vision. We were able to successfully run the school golf program and host championships in 2021 and 2022 with approximately 280 players each year. The tournament is held at the BGF Golf Facility.
This program consists of three components.
Activity A: School Team Golf Competitions (Goal of 30 teams/150 players per division = 1200 players per championship. We hope to achieve these numbers by 2025)
Each school will submit teams for the following if possible:
Senior Boys (Grades 10-12) – 5 players x 30 schools = 150 players
Senior Girls (Grades 10-12) – 5 players x 30 schools = 150 players
Junior Boys (Grades 7-9) – 5 players x 30 schools = 150 players
Junior Girls (Grades 7-9) – 5 players x 30 schools = 150 players
Upper Primary Girls (Grades 4-6) – 5 players x 30 schools = 150 players
Upper Primary Boys (Grades 4-6) – 5 players x 30 schools = 150 players
Lower Primary Girls (Grades 1-3) – 5 players x 30 schools = 150 players
Lower Primary Boys (Grades 1-3) – 5 players x 30 schools = 150 players
The best 3 of 5 scores for each team will count towards the team score. The senior boys and girls compete from the furthest tees, the junior boys and girls compete from approximately 150 yards per hole, the upper primary players compete from 100 yards per hole, and the lower primary players compete from 50 yards per hole.
Activity B: Golf in the PE Classes
The initial plan was to only introduce the program to 10 elementary schools, all public junior high schools, all public senior high schools, and 15 private multi age schools. However, based on feedback, we have seen that we can initially introduce it to all of the public schools, as well as all schools in the private sector in Phase 1. In 2021, both public and private in school sessions will take place in January through February 2021. For the Phase 2 season, improvements will include:
Activity C: Continued training of the PE teachers
This includes the installation of long-term golf practice areas at schools. This will also require the addition of more parent volunteers. Our system of instruction has shown that the parents have been able to follow the game faster. In general tournaments, students are required to have caddies, so our pool of possible parent volunteers have been increasing.
Activity D: Increased golf knowledge training for instructors and volunteers.
With continued certification, the PE teachers and volunteers will become more confident in delivering the instruction and coaching their teams. We will host numerous training sessions on the curriculum, as well as rules seminars. The parents of the juniors will also feel more comfortable on the golf course if they know more about the game. Uneducated parents tend to be more uncomfortable on the golf course than new golfers. Once the parents who are not golfers, feel confident and a sense of belonging, we will see more parents and adults involved in the game.
KEY PERFORMANCE INDICATORS
KPI 1: Number of students introduced to the values of the game
With golf and its values being taught in the schools, 1000+ students per school will learn the game. Each year, we will onboard more schools not only in Nassau, but in the family island schools as well. The recent addition of golf to the curriculum has assisted with securing the feeder system for mandatory golf education. This will be visibly measured in tournament numbers, schools involved, and number of students per school that experience the golf education. This will also be measured in the amount of families that learn about their child’s golf education, which is how we will eventually get golf in every household.
KPI 2: Number of junior golfers created and number of strokes lost
Ultimately the goal is to create golfers. Most times society refer to golfers as people who can play golf from one of the standard tee boxes on a golf course. We are using the operation 36 software which not only tracks the stats of the junior golfers, but allows them to become golfers by adjusting the starting distance. As each student advances past the first division in the program, we will equate that to one more golfer being created. If we can create 1000+ new golfers per year, and by extension 1000+ families, we can reach our goals to grow the game.
KPI 3: Increase in parent involvement and female junior golfers
In addition to the increase of the number of families being exposed to the game through the school program, we have an additional method of increasing parent involvement. Our tournament program requires juniors to have caddies. Therefore, we have been able to interest more parents in sticking around to watch the lesson to learn more about the game and more about their child’s game. With that, we have seen more parents volunteering to assist. With youth being mandatorily exposed to golf in schools, more girls will be exposed. If we are successful with getting as little as 5% of girls transitioning, that equates to a minimum of 50 girls joining each year.
KPI 4: School Team Tournament Results
We adjusted our piloted results within the Golf Genius software with a best ball format. However, after testing, we will now use a “best four of five scores approach”, and use a “short course”. We have tested the system over a two-month period with numerous junior golfers ranging from beginners to intermediate skill levels. The 2nd wave of piloted results have shown that in a short period of time, the youth were able to learn sufficient golf skills to confidently compete on a “short course,” and represent their schools. The season championships are set for February 2021. At that time, we can examine the tournament data.
KPI 5: Variance of Numbers of Student golfers per school
Initially our goal was to have three golfers per school after the first year. With this “short course” approach, which is the operation 36 model, we realized that our projected numbers were too low. After fully testing the viability of the project, we anticipate that we will have a minimum of 20 golfers per participating school in year 1. This is 17 more golfers per school than previously projected. At a minimum, this number will continue to double per year, leading to approximately 320 junior golfers per school by year 5.
NEEDS THE SCHOOL GOLF PROGRAM WILL MEET
NEED 1: The need for an increase of junior golfers
We need more junior golfers to continue the growth of golf in The Bahamas. The continuation of this project will assist with growing the numbers of youth playing the game.
NEED 2: The need for an increase of female junior golfers
We need more female junior golfers to ultimately have more women playing golf. In the past year, we have experienced an increase in the amount of youth female golfers. With the introduction of golf in the schools, we are guaranteed to have a minimum of 5 girls per school competing each year. That is not including the thousands of young girls who will learn the game during PE class. The hope is that the PE teachers will encourage the talented students to enroll in the golf course program.
NEED 3: The need for an increase of parent involvement, and ultimately more adults in the game
Once the students transition to the golf course program and ultimately the tournament program, we expect more parent involvement. This parent involvement will be as a result of the caddie requirement. Each junior golfer under the age of 15 is required to have a caddie for tournaments. With this, we have more parents involved by watching practice and watching tournaments. By doing this, they learn more about the game, and more about their child’s game.
NEED 4: The need for an increase in juniors in the pipeline to receive college scholarships
One of our ultimate goals is to help more kids secure college scholarships through the game of golf. There are tons of scholarships available, and through this we will be doing our part to prepare our youth to take advantage of the opportunities. We are tracking the students who enter the program through the interschool program, and are looking forward to seeing the first scholarship recipient from this program.
OUTCOMES THE SCHOOL GOLF PROGRAM WILL DELIVER
OUTCOME 1: More families discussing golf at the dinner table
Children who have fun experiences with golf at school will tell their families about the game.
OUTCOME 2: More youth playing the game
Thousands of Bahamian youth will be exposed to a non-impact game which can open doors which they would not normally have access to.
OUTCOME 3: Growth of the game
The game will not only grow through the junior golfers, but through the PE teachers that will learn, through the additional volunteers, and through the addition media coverage as an official sport in the schools.
OUTCOME 4: Youth Empowerment
With more students learning the game, the instructors will be able to teach and further expose the bridge between being a golfer with integrity, and being an upstanding citizen.
OUTCOME 5: Our junior golfers being ready for the college golf
Our junior golf tour was successful by preparing juniors to be competitive players. This will now teach them to be competitive team players, to improve their success on the collegiate level.
OUTCOME 6: More adults becoming comfortable with simply being at a golf course.
With golf having the stigma of an elite sport, non-golfers are intimidated when they go to a golf course. With their children, and by extension them, being exposed to the game, hopefully they will be more confident with going to a golf course.
SUCCESS OUTLOOK FOR THE PROGRAM
Multiple schools successfully delivering golf in their PE classes.
Multiple schools having sufficient sets of golf clubs for the PE classes and their golf teams.
Multiple schools having adequate long-term “mini” practice areas.
800 students competing in the National School Golf Championships.
Consistent numbers of students transitioning into the full-time golf program, ensuring that we have no shortage of girls or boys competing in any division in tournaments; The addition of multiple tiers of tournaments because of the large number of juniors playing the game.
Walking in to a classroom of students, asking “who knows how to play golf”, and seeing multiple hands raised.
More Junior golfers receiving government scholarships for golf because it is a Core Sport for The Bahamas
More girls and boys learning and playing the game leads to more tournament golfers.
More young girls and young boys learning and playing the game leads to more women and men playing golf. Adults who played golf as a child tend to continue the game in their adult years.
More tournament golfers leads to more college bound golfers.
More tournament golfers leads to more parents and adults caddying as we require caddies.
More parents that play golf leads to more kids playing golf.
More kids learning about golf in school leads to more families discussing golf at home.
More families discussing golf leads to increased golf impact in the community.
These successes will contribute to our overall strategic plan as is strengthens our root system. Our junior golf development system is our root system. We know that by achieving the above, our root system will be nourished enough to produce the fruit which fulfills our other objectives. For more information on this program please contact Gina Gonzalez-Rolle (firstname.lastname@example.org