Written by
Joy Chakravarty
Mar 22 2024
Little Sticks

They call it Little Sticks, but it is making a massive impact.

Launched as a pilot project across five schools in England and one in the United States last year, Little Sticks is part of Majesticks GC’s community outreach initiatives. It is planned as a long-term schools programme being run alongside on-site activations in Orlando in Florida and Luton and Newcastle in England as part of the franchise’s strategy to ‘Educate, Engage, Empower’.

The six schools are a mixture of Primary, Secondary and Special Education settings. A total of 50 sessions were delivered in these schools by specialist consultants, either as part of PE, or an extra-curricular club.

Out of the 10 sessions in each school, Majesticks set a benchmark of children attending at least six sessions as those whose lives were impacted through the programme.

Based on detailed feedback and Warwick Edinburgh Mental Well-being assessment, it was found that 59.4% of children had a meaningful positive change in their well-being. 78% of children had a moderate-to-high well-being score pre-programme, and that jumped to 97% of children having a moderate-to-high well-being score after they attended the programme.

Golf as a sport, and the Little Sticks programme, managed to change the lives of 19% of children, who had a negative well-being score before starting the programme, and helped elevate them to moderate-to-high well-being scores.

A proud Ian Poulter, Co-Captain of the team, said: “I think we are one of the first LIV teams to adopt charity and community work and we’re really proud of that. Little Sticks has been grown in-house. We’ve got a great team and Jordan (Stephenson), who works back in the UK and has built a curriculum that has been rolled out through numerous schools now.

“We’ve had some incredible success in all of those schools from the feedback we’ve got. We’re very proud to have the Little Sticks in place. As we grow over the next few years, it will be exciting for us to see where we can take it globally and roll it out into as many schools as possible.”

The pilot programme in primary and secondary phases and special education comprised 15 activities, specially-designed learner booklets and a life-skill matrix underpinned by Majesticks GC players as role models (Lee Westwood for resilience; Poulter for teamwork and Henrik Stenson for respect).

Stephenson, who is Majesticks’ Head of Community and Impact, explains: “Little Sticks is our headline community impact programme aimed at unleashing young people’s potential through golf. It aims to educate schools and community-based organisations to deliver in their settings. They are being provided with the equipment, resources, training and mentorship required to establish a long-term and sustainable programme.

“Little Sticks is built around achieving three main outcomes – development of transferrable life skills; improved well-being and an increased sense of belonging. It looks to explicitly develop life skills and our Majesticks players are fundamental to the initiative, using their achievements and skills to role-model positive behaviours.”

The numbers from the pilot have been very encouraging for Majesticks GC, as Sam Horsfield points out:

“It’s great we are using data to showcase the impact of Little Sticks,” said the 27-year-old. “The data is following a 12-week pilot. So, over a longer period of time, I’m sure we will see a great impact on the children who take part”

The learnings

There have been several learnings from the first year that the Majesticks GC want to include in this year’s programme. One thing they specifically do not want to do is to burden the students with technicalities while they learn golf.

Co-Captain Lee Westwood said: “A big learning is that we need to invest in supporting teachers’ development. Some school staff feel they aren’t qualified to deliver golf, unlike most other sports. Providing them with the knowledge to feel more confident is key. Which is why we are investing in golf mentors to go in and support the schools.

“With our special education schools, we’ve learned that golf is a great activity for children on the autism spectrum. It is an activity they can do at their own pace and focus on their own development without the external pressures that other team sports encompass.

“The pilot has made it clear that we need to focus on creating fun and engaging activities and not get caught on the technical aspect of the game. What motivates these kids is allowing them to compete to the best of their abilities and learn how to adapt their techniques to achieve success. It’s not all about technique, as most children get bored with that easily.”

It’s what everyone wanted to do

Little Sticks came about when the Majesticks sat down as a team early last year, discussing ideas about how they can contribute towards growing the game.

Co-Captain Henrik Stenson said: “As a team we spent time at LIV Golf Tulsa last year to discuss what impact we wanted to make and what legacy we wanted to have as Majesticks GC.

“It’s fantastic to see how far we’ve come in a short space of time and have a clear strategy on how we are going to be impacting the lives of children through the game of golf.

“We spend a lot of time at the end of last year recording all the content for the programme – from introducing the activities, playing them as demonstrations and bringing the life-skill component to life through video recordings. The programme truly comes from our hearts and also has us Majesticks GC players at the heart of it all.”

The future of Little Sticks

With the success of the pilot, Majesticks GC are now working on expanding the programme to more schools are new territories.

Stephenson said: “It’s amazing to see the final Little Sticks product and how it has been designed to explicitly develop life skills. To have a full life skills curriculum is fantastic and we’ve tailored the approach so that we can work with a wide range of ages and abilities. The activities are very fun and engaging; as well as the video content with the Majesticks GC players.

“We have provided our six schools with the equipment, training and resources to embed Little Sticks in their schools. They will get a mentor. We also have a university that will conduct a research study on the impact it is having and give us some great data on how we move forward.

“We are finalising partnerships with organisations to be delivery partners and incorporate our Little Sticks programme within their wider work within schools. We are partnering with Complete PE in the UK to develop a full scheme to have golf within the PE curriculum.

“We are looking to take Little Sticks to other markets to broaden our reach in other countries.”

To read the full 2023 Impact Report from Majesticks GC, click here.