Ryder Cup European Development Trust

Kevin Duggan Golf Academy, Stockwood Park

The Kevin Duggan Golf Academy, based at Stockwood Park, was opened in 2005 and is named in memory of 19 year old keen golfer Kevin Duggan, who died in a car accident. His father, Declan Duggan, held charity golf days to raise monies for local charities in memory of his son, and from such small beginnings, the Kevin Duggan Golf Academy was born.

The purpose-built academy, comprising indoor teaching bays along with a nine-hole academy course and putting green, has been developed in partnership with Luton Borough Council and is managed by Active Luton. The facility is situated in Luton, Bedfordshire, only five minutes from the town centre. The golf course was designed by former Ryder Cup player and BBC commentator Ken Brown, along with Creative Golf Design. Money from the Ryder Cup European Development Trust is being used to help to support the facility and its aim to develop golf from a grass roots to a professional level, using first-class facilities, organised by a Golf Development and Community Manager and taught by PGA professionals.

The facility is widely used as by both underprivileged and disadvantaged children, together with the general public. The nine-hole course attracts all kinds and levels of players, from complete novices to avid golfers and of course families. The project was set up to allow people who might not traditionally choose to participate in sport, let alone golf, to have the opportunity to try the sport. The Academy provides free golf (including coaching, shoes and equipment) for disadvantaged young people from 6-17 living in Luton or South Bedfordshire who are ‘looked after’, living in a designated deprived area, living with disability or children of refugees.

When the Academy was opened in July 2005, Sandy Jones, Chief Executive of The PGA was there to mark the occasion, along with the Ryder Cup itself. David Blunkett, the former Home Secretary was also in attendance – he is involved and will become personally involved when blind children are given the chance to play at this facility.

The idea behind the Academy is that golf is an ideal sport for young people, as its handicap system enables varying standards of golfers to play together. It is great fun, results can be seen after only a few hours of practice and it encourages personal excellence and team spirit, not to mention the opportunity to make new friends.

Since its opening the Academy has grown and many children who might not otherwise have had a chance to play golf have been lucky enough to give it a go. The Academy offers teaching through the summer holidays and works with local schools in order to get as many children playing as possible.

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