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golfex Dubai 2008

golfex Dubai is building on the success it has enjoyed over the last two years by breaking new ground to promote junior golf.

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2-day pass to golfex with lunch provided
Entry to the gala dinner "Party on the Green"
Season pass to the
Dubai Desert Classic

The two-day conference-exhibition will cover the issues that affect the golf industry globally but the emphasis will be on discussing ways and means of bringing more youngsters into the game. The theme of golfex Dubai 2008 is, "Future Golf – harnessing young talent today, for success in the future." The focus of Neil Hamp-Adams and his colleagues at Driving Force is to hold the biggest global gathering of junior development pioneers and organisations aimed at growing the future of the game.

There are a number of initiatives that already benefit young golfers, not only in introducing youngsters into the game but also teaching them the values and disciplines that golf represents. Two of the most successful programmes of recent years have been The First Tee® in the United States and HSBC's Wee Wonders Championships. Joe Louis Barrow Jnr, son of the legendary World Heavyweight Boxing Champion Joe Louis, is a driving force behind The First Tee® and has expressed his eagerness to participate at golfex Dubai 2008 to explain the organisation and goals of the programme. The First Tee was founded 10 years ago. In cooperation with local communities, it provides learning facilities and educational programmes that promote character development and life-enhancing values through the game of golf. The organisation was established in 1997 with the support of five of the world's leading golf organisations: the Augusta National Golf Club, the Ladies Professional Golf Association, the PGA of America, the PGA TOUR, and the United States Golf Association.

Through contributions made by cities, counties and states that have donated land for the purpose of developing golf-learning facilities, The First Tee has opened more than 250 facilities worldwide and has touched the lives of more than 675,000 young people.

The First Tee® National School Programme has reached more than 400,000 students in over 900 elementary schools across the United States. Trained physical educators teach children the basics in golf skills and etiquette during scheduled physical education classes. The curriculum is based on the standards set by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education and emphasises The First Tee® Nine Core Values:  honesty, integrity, sportsmanship, respect, confidence, responsibility, perseverance, courtesy and judgment.
Key to The First Tee's success is the Life Skills Experience. The programme was created by a team of experts in the field of youth development. Young people learn how to transfer the inherent values of the game of golf into their daily lives.

A longitudinal study conducted by the University of Virginia evaluated the impact of the Life Skills Experience – and the results were impressive. The research provided scientific data-based evidence of the effectiveness of The First Tee as an exemplary youth development programme. Over 97% of the participants showed knowledge and use of interpersonal skills such as meeting and greeting, and showing respect for others. One hundred percent of the participants identified methods to manage their emotions both on and off the golf course. Conflict resolution, goal setting and appreciating diversity are among several additional concepts that the study found effective through involvement with The First Tee.

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The First Tee also offers support through college education via the Scholars Programme. Currently 28 colleges and universities provide leadership scholarships to qualified participants at facilities nationwide.
HSBC's Wee Wonders initiative has gathered pace in recent years. The 2007 HSBC Wee Wonders Championships reached a dramatic conclusion amidst the historic surroundings of St Andrews from August 24 -26 where this year's triumphant youngsters were crowned.

Following a grueling qualifying process that began four months ago, the competition intensified during the two-day, 18-hole stroke-play competition finale that saw the 72 Grand Finalists compete. The standard of play at the Balgove Course was once again impressive and a testament to the exemplary work being done within the ranks of junior golf around the country. The winners of each age group play alongside their heroes at the HSBC World Match Play Pro-Am on Wednesday, 10th October.

"I think this year we have undoubtedly seen a higher standard of golf than we've seen in any of the previous championships," commented a delighted Alasdair Good, founder of the HSBC Wee Wonders. "From qualifying through to the finals – it's a fantastic achievement from all our youngsters."

Also on hand for the Grand Final was European Tour and Ryder Cup star Colin Montgomerie, who was equally enthusiastic about what he witnessed. "This event is giving youngsters an opportunity to start as early as possible and we thank HSBC for that because without their support this wouldn't take place. To come to St Andrews, the Home of Golf is terrific as well. The event encourages a lot of things, No.1 being opportunity – without opportunity nothing is going to happen. I was given that opportunity by my parents, and it's great that HSBC can do the same for these children."

Reflecting on another hugely successful competition that saw record entries, Good commented: "Without the help of so many people this event would not be possible – especially the commitment from the youngsters. We've seen the highest level of play but also the highest level of camaraderie, observation of rules and etiquette." 

The HSBC Wee Wonders Championships is a national open golf event that gives junior golfers a way to progress from coaching programmes into competitive golf. The Championships continue to lead the way in grassroots golf, and have grown year on year with 3,000 competitors taking part in 2007. Played on par-3 courses throughout Great Britain and Ireland, the Championships allow competitors to play 36 shots and place their flag where their final shot finishes, with the winners being those achieving the greatest distance around the course.

Winners of each boys and girls age category proceed through the tournament stages (75 local qualifiers, nine regional finals) to the Grand Final at St Andrews.

The 2008 Championships promise to be bigger and better than ever, with a record number of juniors expected to participate. Some of the most influential figures within the game will be in attendance at golfex Dubai 2008 and they will use the opportunity to discuss how the example of initiatives like The First Tee and the HSBC Wee Wonders Championships can be used to create further opportunities for youngsters the world over.

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Get a taste of the Golf Experience. Watch a streaming video of the 2006 event.

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