School golf nationals set for April

|Sports|School golf nationals set for AprilSports

About 30 schools have registered for the event

Sheldon LongleySend an emailMarch 21, 2023 297 4 minute readFacebookTwitterLinkedInShare via Email

 Shown are representatives from the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Ministry of Education & Technical & Vocational Training, the BGF Junior Division and Fourteen Clubs Golf Academy, and also young golf athletes who are expected to take part in the championships. SHELDON LONGLEY

With nearly a full complement of players and schools registered, the 3rd Annual Interschool Golf Championships is in its final stages of preparation, set for April 17-21 at nine-hole golf course at the Baillou Hills Sporting Complex.

There are eight divisions being contested – lower primary boys and girls, upper primary boys and girls, junior boys and girls and senior boys and girls. About 30 teams are registered so far, and each team could consist of three to five players, but just the three lowest scorers will count toward the team’s total. Last year, a total of 282 players took part in the school golf nationals – 15 schools fielded full teams.

“Over the past few years, we have seen so many lives changed, so many dreams become a reality, and this is just the beginning,” said Gina Gonzalez-Rolle, chairperson of the Bahamas Golf Federation’s (BGF) Junior

Division. “We cater to the whole child. The Bahamas has been put on the map through track and field, swimming, baseball and basketball, but give us three years. Through hard work and dedication we will continue to make golf our national sport. We turn dreams into reality. Come and watch our students play.”

Hundreds of school children are expected to take part in the championships and will compete in the individual and team competitions. Tournament organizers have set a maximum capacity of 144 players per day, or 576 over the course of the four days of competition.

The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and the Ministry of Education & Technical & Vocational Training are partnering with the BGF Junior Division and Fourteen Clubs Golf Academy in the staging of the school golf nationals.

“The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is indeed happy to partner with the Ministry of Education. We want to congratulate the Bahamas Golf Federation as well as Fourteen Clubs Golf Academy for hosting such a prestigious event where our young kids can be exposed to another sport,” said Kelsie Johnson-Sills, director of sports in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture. “The sport of golf teaches discipline and how to be truthful and honest as a player. Every shot counts. I want to congratulate all of our junior players and also the organizers for making sure that the sport continues to grow. We want to introduce more sports into the schools and we want to see more professionals in golf so I implore you young golfers to not give up on your dreams.”

The Ministry of Education & Technical & Vocational Training is introducing the sport of golf into the school curriculum in The Bahamas. It allows all school students to be introduced to golf in Physical Education (PE) classes, and gives them the opportunity to represent their schools in the national school golf championships.

Minister of State in the Ministry of Education & Technical & Vocational Training Zane Lightbourne said they realize that there are many opportunities available in the sport of golf and it is their duty to develop the whole child.

“We know that golf is identified as an individual sport but it teaches a person so much,” said Lightbourne. “We know that our country is filled with young talented people in so many different areas. On the world stage, in almost every international competition, in all sports, a Bahamian is representing this beautiful country. There is amazing talent that is in the bodies and minds of young Bahamian children. I commend the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture for driving this event forward and getting it done, and for partnering with the Ministry of Education in bringing golf in as a part of the curriculum in schools. Our PE teachers now have to learn golf so that they could teach it as a part of the curriculum.

“The championships are here, they are well watched and they are competitive. We have this on the calendar now as something to look forward to. The sport of golf teaches you discipline, how to be self driven and how to compete against others. I encourage our children to continue to get involved and take it as far as it could take you and I encourage Corporate Bahamas to continue to partner with the Government of The Bahamas in staging events such as this in bringing children together. We could show that we have much to be proud of than some of the negative aspects that you see in the news. This is more than just sports. To all the organizers, parents and the children themselves, I am so proud of what you are doing, and you have a partner always in the Ministry of Education.” 

The school golf program has four main goals – to deliver the instructions 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; and give students an opportunity to represent their schools in the primary school league, high school league, and the Bahamas National Primary and High School Golf 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 BGF’s junior program administered by Fourteen Clubs Golf Academy.

The program started in 2020 with its addition to the school curriculum.

At the school golf nationals, the lower and upper primary school children compete from 50 yards, the juniors compete from 100 yards and the seniors compete from 150 yards.

At last year’s school golf nationals, Windsor School won five of the eight divisions – lower primary girls, upper primary boys, junior boys and girls and senior boys. Lyford Cay International School won the lower primary boys division, Eva Hilton Primary School won the upper primary girls division and Queen’s College prevailed in the senior girls division.

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