Bennett returns to golfing roots to inspire next generation of talent

·3-min read
Bennett, 26, was reunited with her old coach Chris Jenkins at Valence Primary School this month
Bennett, 26, was reunited with her old coach Chris Jenkins at Valence Primary School this month

Nicola Bennett went back to her golfing roots by teaming up with her first coach to give Dagenham kids an introduction to the game, writes Josh Graham.

Bennett, 26, first took lessons from Crowlands Golf Centre’s PGA professional Chris Jenkins, 49, when she was 13. 

And the pair were reunited at Valence Primary School to deliver a fun-filled session for youngsters to mark Nicola’s new role as an HSBC Golf Roots programme Ambassador, helping introduce the next generation to golf and inspiring kids from all backgrounds so that they too can believe they have a future in golf.

Bennett, a pro at Bush Hill Park Golf Club in Enfield, said: “I think it’s brilliant for golf growth in general. 

“I think it’s fantastic that HSBC are supporting golf through the Golf Roots programme and it’s being exposed and delivered in a great way.

“I think it’s really important to make it as organic as possible for the kids. 

“To make it fun, we gave them ideas like rivers, triangles and hot dogs. They just thought about those things but they got all the technical stuff from it.”

The Golf Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme aims to give a first go at golf to two million young people over the next five years.

And year five pupil Olly Jling was one of the lucky schoolchildren to benefit from Bennett’s tips and tricks on a beautiful day in East London.

The ten-year-old said: “We enjoyed having Nicola here to show us how good golf actually is.

“It’s a lot more fun than a normal PE lesson.”

PE teacher Lisa Watkinson, 53, gushed about an ‘amazing’ day and revealed how big an impact a role model like Bennett can make for the kids.

“It was amazing, we like our children to take part in various different sports and they absolutely loved it,” she said.

“To have someone that is young and relatable, who played at their local club and is going on to be a star in the sport, has made the kids and us feel wonderful. 

The HSBC Golf Roots programme aims to give a first go at golf to two million young people over the next five years
The HSBC Golf Roots programme aims to give a first go at golf to two million young people over the next five years

“Anything is possible, we can all dream and go forward.”

Golf foundation chief executive Brendan Pyle, 50, suggested the visit of Bennett, a successful black golfer, would help encourage more kids from ethnic minorities to pick up a club.

He said: “At the Golf Foundation we firmly believe in the adage that ‘if you can’t see her, you can’t be her’.

“The power of role models is really important. Young people need to see people like themselves that have succeeded and are playing at a professional level.

“Nicola is helping us reach more people from different communities and different backgrounds.”

The Golf Roots programme aims to create golfers from all backgrounds because they know that golf can change lives.

Something Bennett’s old coach Jenkins knows all about.

He said: “It is really nice to see anyone you coach from a young age excel in the game and have a long career in golf, it is something to be treasured.”

Find out where your nearest Golf Roots centre is - https://www.golf-foundation.org/clubs/hsbc-golf-roots-centres/

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