Golf & Jerk Festival

Sandals Foundation inaugural junior event set for May 5

Senior staff reporter

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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It will be the first of its kind in the world, said conceptualiser Miguel Arthurs as Sandals Foundation launched its inaugural junior Golf and Jerk Festival to be held on Saturday, May 5.

The event, dubbed a “celebration of sports, food and charity”, will be held on the sprawling grounds of the Sandals Golf and Country Club in the hills of Upton, Ocho Rios, St Ann.

Arthurs, the general manager of Sandals Golf and Country Club, speaking yesterday at the launch at the ATL showroom on Half-Way-Tree Road, noted that this tournament is more than just about golf, rather it is a lifestyle that will transform youth development.

“Fortunately, I have the opportunity of working in the arena of golf and I thought about how we are going to really change the lives of youngsters, what can we do to make a difference? Golf sometimes comes across as an elitist sport. Thankfully that is changing, and to change that we said what could we pair golf with and what goes well with everything? Food,” said Arthurs.

“So the first-ever in the world golf and jerk festival, and we will be highlighting the abilities of our junior golfers in Jamaica,” he added.

“It's not golf and jerk, it's much more than that. On that day while the golfers are strutting their stuff, there will be jerk pan chef competitors who will actually be on the physical tee bucks right behind the golfers. You will see the smoke, smell the aroma as they jerk up a feast, after which they will be judged and a winner chosen,” Arthurs explained.

The tournament will be a fun-filled day featuring family activities with prizes and surprises. There will be a kids' village with “Giffie” the official golf mascot.

The tournament, as explained by Arthurs, will also be a mini health fair with a new initiative known as “Stroke against Stroke”. It's a golf physiotherapy programme.

Heidi Clarke, executive director of Sandals Foundation, noted that this event would see great benefit in engaging youth through sports.

“We see it in football, in cricket, in basketball and of course, golf. We were able to make this happen through our amazing team; they are not only teaching golf but are mentors to them,” said Clarke.

“Young people learn so much through golf. It's not just about the game. It's about team spirit, team building; it's about discipline and for us it's also about exposing them. Some have gone on to play internationally, some at UTech at school. It's really about giving them opportunities,” Clarke emphasised.

“So we are super-excited about this event and we want people to come out. We are looking forward to seeing our youth programme, which happens on a weekly basis at the golf club, expand and expose more children in schools,” she added.

Alison Reid of the Jamaica Golf Association was on hand and she reiterated her organisation's effort in youth golf.

“We are thrilled that we are getting this kind of exposure. We have been doing our thing without much recognition. We currently have 52 children that will play on Saturday in the JGA Junior Cup. We have five events that we do from September to June,” said Reid.

“We want to thank Sandals and most of the golf courses around have been very supportive. Sandals always say yes when we call. They are always on board,” she noted.

Reid added that for the first time in Jamaica there had been an inter-school golf tournament with five schools participating, which she believed was an important step getting children involved in the sport.

“We are trying to get rid of that elitist stereotype because it is so much more than that, and we encourage you to come out and watch the children from ages six to 17,” said Reid.

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