In an effort to ensure that student-athletes get to compete in various sporting activities this school year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) Sports Unit is stepping forward. The ministry has teamed up with the Bahamas Golf Federation (BGF) to have its first Bahamas Interschool Golf Championships, set for March 22-26, at the BGF’s nine-hole golf course at the Queen Elizabeth Sports Centre. The announcement was made at a press conference held on Friday at the Courtyard by Marriott Hotel.
The championships will have teams of five students per category competing for their respective schools. The categories are primary school (grade 1-3 and 4-6), junior high school and senior high school. The Physical Education (PE) teachers will select the players from the respective schools.
Popular golf coach Georgette Rolle, a former LPGA (Ladies Professional Golf Association) teaching professional, is one of the organizers. She said that the BGF will be having additional training for the chosen student-athletes from Monday to Friday. They will also be trained at the school by the PE teachers who have the golf curriculum. The Monday to Friday training at the BGF facility will be free of charge.
“It has always been a dream of mine to have as many kids as possible experience the opportunities that I had,” said Rolle. “I remember just starting golf and sticking to it because of the free pastries. Along the way, I learned just how valuable the game can be at just making me a better person. We have been striving for this and we are excited with this first step that has been taken and that we can move on to the next step where we can create Olympians.”
Teams of five players will be represented, and the four low scores will be the cumulative score of the team. There will also be individual champions for each category and an overall individual champion with the lowest score.
The Bahamas Association of Independent Secondary Schools (BAISS), the Government Secondary Schools Sports Association (GSSSA) and the primary schools will have a one-day event close to the championships, and then the top schools from those events will participate in the championships.
Senior Officer at MOE Sports Unit Rupert Gardiner, who is also a part of the organizing team, said this is a good way of finding diamonds in the rough.
“We used to win the Hoerman Cup and now we don’t win that event anymore. Hopefully, with these junior golfers coming up, we could fill that void. With these championships in the high schools, we can find these diamonds in the rough and develop them,” Gardiner said. “The ministry is very excited because with the COVID situation, we cannot play contact sports. We have to take the initiative to find sports that we can do for the kids to be active. We are looking at swimming and tennis in the pipelines. These are socially distanced sports.”
The next four islands that will receive the golf curriculum will be Grand Bahama, Abaco, Eleuthera and Exuma. The plan is to have those islands compete in next year’s competition.
Rolle said they will look at the larger venues for the 2022 edition once they review the results of this year’s edition.