LRLCGA nominate The Pathway Tour for EG Award

LRLCGA Noticeboard : LRLCGA nominate The Pathway Tour for EG Award

Leicestershire & Rutland Ladies County Golf Association were delighted to nomination Mick Billingham, Director of Junior Golf, Leicestershire & Rutland Men’s Golf Union and Anita Higginson, Junior County Organiser,  Leicestershire & Rutland Ladies County Golf Association  for the England Golf Awards 2023 in the category ‘Women & Girls Trailblazer’

 

Although we are still awaiting the outcome of the shortlisting, we feel it’s important to shine a light on the wonderful work that Mike and Anita have done for Junior Golf in our County.

Anita has championed initiatives for Women and Girls throughout the County including Girls on Tour and Girls Golf Rocks. In 2019, together with Mick, they decided to look at a more inclusive view of junior golf and rather than the initiatives being gender-based they decided to work together to develop junior golf in the County and the Foxes Junior Pathway Tour was born.

The Pathway Tour is a series of five competitions run for Girls & Boys at Clubs across Leicestershire & Rutland with the aim of introducing junior golfers to competitive golf in a safe and fun environment.  It provides Tour Members with the opportunity to develop their game at all levels under the watchful eye of the County Boys and Girls Junior Organisers.

The Tour has been an important step in recognising that all youngsters can play golf and whilst accepting differences in ability and cognitive development it does not have to be based upon gender, thus preventing stereotypes from being ingrained at a young age and therefore promoting equality. Encouraging boys and girls to play together can have a social impact enabling a greater understanding between genders, foster mutual respect and reducing potential future stereotyping.

The Pathway commenced in 2022  and has so far taken place  in over 5 different locations throughout the County – Hinckley, The Leicestershire, Cosby, Lutterworth & Birstall Golf Club. The Pathway  was overwhelmed with applications to join the Tour and at each location more than 70 youngsters played in 4 different skill level events which include, Flag 50, Super 50, 9 hole stableford and a 18 hole stableford.

The feedback from parents and professionals has been  overwhelming;

Parent (KB) "Mick they absolutely loved it thank you! They can’t wait for the next one! Some putting in the living room before then I hope!!!"

Parent (AB)- "Top marks so far, great comps"

Advanced Fellow of the PGA  (AM) - "From a personal perspective she (Anita) is simply the best example I have ever seen of someone who 'gets' what it takes to create total inclusivity regardless of background and I have witnessed my own daughter grow in confidence in golf, in no small part due to the efforts of Anita".

Junior Girls (EW) - The latest development she (Anita) has been instrumental in introducing the County junior boys into a combined Foxes Pathway Tour. This has created a more inclusive environment and allowed us to make a lot more friend"

Parents have commented on the minimal outlay to join The Pathway. The Pathway, unlike commercial entities offering similar opportunities, keeps the cost to a minimum, engaging with local courses, reducing travel which helps promote inclusivity and opportunity for all.

The Pathway continues to develop and new for 2023 is a new category - ‘9 Hole Stepping Stones’ designed for those players who have developed beyond the Super50 events and are now ready for a true 9 hole challenge but have not yet been awarded their formal WHS Handicap.

The 2023 Tour is already ‘sold out’ and due to the fantastic demand, all the 2023 Tour places have now been allocated and we have a reserve list in place. The number of youngsters involved has been increased from 70 to 96 per venue.

The Pathway is a wonderful inclusive initiative breaking down barriers whilst having fun!

It takes a special kind of person to work with young people, Anita and Mick are these people. Their commitment and passion for growing the game of Junior golf cannot be underestimated. Together with their team, they have broken down barriers giving hundreds of youngsters within the County the opportunity to play golf in a competitive gender free environment.

Research shows that allowing girls to compete alongside and against boys enhances their view of themselves and makes them more resilient. Inclusivity is the way forward and with more and mixed gender events taking place at a national level the Foxes Junior Pathway Tour is leading the way at a junior level ensuring youngsters grow with the game.

We are immensely proud of the work being carried out by Anita. Mick and their team of volunteers.

HOW CAN YOU HELP?

To support The Pathway, both the Association and the Union are seeking to recruit more volunteers to assist in the planned events for 2023 and beyond. Building a bank of volunteers and engaging with more affiliated clubs encouraging them to host junior events is key to the ongoing success of The Pathway and both the Association and the Union are committed to supporting this wonderful initiative.

If you would like to volunteer to help at any of the 2023 events, please contact Anita

 
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