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Golf takes away the handicap

St Stephen's primary in Coatbridge has scored a national first by becoming the only school in the country to run its own junior golf course.

The six-hole course, with tee areas, holes, bunkers and fairways, has been set in a previously unused part of the school grounds.

Pupils will run the golf club committee which will set pars (albeit with some friendly adult supervision), organise competitions and generally manage the facility.

The project will encourage community use and the involvement of other schools and is aimed at fostering the involvement of children.

Pat Connelly, provost of North Lanarkshire Council, described the initiative as "a prime example of how North Lanarkshire is leading the way in tackling social exclusion, building better communities, encouraging physical activity and improving quality of life."

The "Tri-Golf" scheme is based on a link between North Lanarkshire Partnership and the Golf Foundation which has ambitious aims - to improve levels of physical activity and skill levels among children, to provide alternatives to and distractions from antisocial behaviour, and to help break down religious and social barriers.

North Lanarkshire has also launched a "Midnight League" project - a 10-week football experience partly aimed at keeping 12-16s out of trouble and helping them develop their leisure time constructively.

The project will be co-ordinated by qualified coaches from the council and the SFA who will liaise with Strathclyde community police officers and community workers. It also aims to strengthen relationships between pupils and parents, school staff and the police.

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