The Fairway Forward Golf Initiative
What’s it all about?
The Fairway Forward Golf Initiative was set up in 2007 in an attempt to divert young people away from antisocial behaviour on golf courses or from golfing in unauthorised areas, by engaging them in organised golf activity within their communities. It was hoped this would have a long term positive impact by giving young people a sense of ownership for a golf course they may previously have vandalised, making them less likely to do so in the future. It would also give young people the opportunity to learn about different aspects of golf and by giving them access to local courses, reduce complaints about golfing in unauthorised areas.
Staffed by Community Safety Officers and Antisocial Behaviour Team members, with some involvement from Campus Police, the Initiative has been very successful two years and plans are now in place to continue with it long term with support from SAC Junior Golf Co-ordinator.
How does it work?
Fairway Forward focuses on areas within South Ayrshire where there have been reports of young people playing golf in unauthorised areas or where damage has been done to local golf courses. Young people who have been identified as being previously involved in such activity, or of having been on the periphery of offending behaviour, are invited to take part in a 4 - 6 week golf activity.
Each programme includes lessons from golf Professionals to help the young people improve their golfing ability, teaching on the rules and etiquette of the sport, as well as golf sessions on local courses and encouragement to have a sustained interest and involvement in golf.
Six sessions have taken place so far at Roodlea, Brunston Castle and Belleisle Golf Courses, involving young people from Troon, Ayr, Mossblown, Maybole and Girvan. With transport provided and volunteers as caddies and scorekeepers, the sessions end with a golf competition and presentation of trophies. Each of the young people who successfully complete the programme are given a six month municipal golf season ticket to encourage them to continue playing.
Community Safety also ran a competition open to all young people involved in the Initiative to design a Fairway Forward logo. The overall winner won a golf bag.
What happens next?
It has been decided to provide a long term follow up activity for all the young people who completed the Fairway Forward Golf Initiative by offering them the chance to become members of the Fairway Forward Junior Golf Club. Community Safety will be sending out a programme of competitions at the beginning of the year and each young person will receive a welcome pack, which will include a T-shirt, golf balls and cap, showing the Fairway Forward logo.
Competitions will be held every 4 - 6 weeks on five courses throughout South Ayrshire, with Trophies and prizes supplied by Community Safety and other organisations. At the end of the year a small presentation of all trophies will be held in one of the local golf club houses.
The Fairway Forward Junior Golf Club will be an ongoing programme with new members being added after each new Initiative. All the young people involved will be given the chance to join the South Ayrshire Junior Golf Club, which will allow them to have an official S.G.U. handicap and giving them the chance to enter all junior golf events anywhere in the UK.