MORE than 1,000 schoolchildren attended this year’s ‘Big Swing’ event, held at Canford Park Arena.

Now in its third year, The Big Swing aims to get children involved in golf by providing them with a fun, day-long introductory session.

Organiser Darren Stratman, a PGA professional, said: “The day went really well. The weather held and I hope all the kids had a great time.

“But it doesn’t stop here. If the kids enjoy it, it will hopefully be the start of more golfers in the area,” he added.

This year was a record turnout for the event, as 216 and 550 children attended the event in its first two years.

“The demand is there and there were more than 150 young leaders, which are children from years nine and 10, which was good to see,” said Stratman.

Many of the schools in the area helped support the event, while students on Bournemouth University’s sports management course helped Stratman organise the day.

“It’s taken a lot of work and we began organising the day in November. We’ve had lots of meetings between then, but it’s been good fun,” Stratman said.

Golf’s popularity is on the up following the recent successes of British players, such as world number one Rory McIlroy and Luke Donald, and Stratman says these are now role models for the next generation of players.

And as Olympic fever starts to spread throughout the country, Stratman says now is the time to encourage as many people as possible to take up a sport.

“Golf is not an Olympic sport, but there is still a lot of excitement around among the children,” said Stratman. “And there was a tremendous amount of good golfers here (at the Big Swing).”