Nanjing, China: Grace Park, the International Golf Federation’s Athlete Role Model, has praised golf’s cultural and sports initiative programme having spent a week in Nanjing at the Youth Olympic Games.
Park, a Major champion and six-time winner on the LPGA Tour, spent time with young athletes sampling the Olympic experience for the first time as well as taking part in a series of cultural and sporting events organised by the IOC.
Golf’s Sport Initiation programme at Wanda Plaza, in the centre of Nanjing, received several thousand visitors over four days and the Chinese public showed a great enthusiasm for the sport with many trying golf for the first time.
Visitors were invited to take golf lessons from qualified PGA professional coaches, try putting on a six-hole putting course and, embracing technology, to try out their short game skills on a golf simulator.
Park visited a school accompanied by 24 athletes from the golf competitions. They were treated to music, a presentation of aerobic dancing and a traditional Chinese game, the rolling of the hoop, while the young golfers demonstrated their skills for the school pupils on the practice range.
The International Golf Federation also delivered 40 sports teachers and golf coaches from 10 schools, academies and golf clubs. Each school received a beginner’s school kit to allow golf to be taught at grass-roots level.
“It’s been incredible to be involved in the Youth Olympic Games and to see the impact that golf has had in China where the game has such future potential in terms of participation,” said Park.
“There has been real interest from fans in the golf competitions and to see such enthusiasm from people for trying and playing golf at our initiation event in Wanda Plaza and at the school I visited, surpassed my expectations. It is fantastically positive for our sport.”