Beyond The Course - Vol. 3

Giving Back: A Closer Look at How Majesticks GC's Little Sticks Program is Changing Lives

LIV Golf’s fresh approach to the sport isn’t just altering the dynamics of the game on the course. The team structure opens new avenues for philanthropic endeavors with players united under a shared banner of social responsibility.

At the forefront of this transformative wave is Majesticks GC, with their Little Sticks program. Ian Poulter, Henrik Stenson, Lee Westwood, and Sam Horsfield are no longer just competitors on the course, but allies in a mission that transcends golf.

Charity work has always been an important part of the career’s of the Majesticks GC captains. Ian Poulter has raised millions of dollars for Dreamflight through his Ian Poulter Charity Classic (IPCC). Dreamflight is a UK based charity that takes children with serious illnesses or disabilities on their dream vacation to Orlando, Florida where they visit Disney World. In 2022 alone, the IPCC charity event raised over a million and a half dollars for Dreamflight. This is just one example of the fantastic charity work by the captains of Majesticks GC. Henrik Stenson is tremendously well respected for his work in the development of junior golf programs in Sweden, giving out multiple annual scholarships, and providing resources to disabled golfers. Lee Westwood’s foundation has focused on supporting junior golfers and expanding junior golf resources in his communities.

The LIV Golf format allows for these efforts to be united under the Majesticks GC umbrella. The team structure, a new concept in a sport that has historically been centered around individual competition, is fostering a spirit of collaboration an community engagement and the Little Sticks program launched by Majesticks GC is the perfect embodiment this.

Historically, the primary focus in charitable efforts stemming from professional golfers has been centered around the development of and increased access to golf facilities to improve junior golfers abilities on the course. While the Majesticks GC captains hope to improve those avenues as well, their primary focus is on enriching the lives of those in deprived communities. Their approach utilizes golf as a medium to teach critical life skills, seeking to unleash their full potential.

Majesticks GC has employed a Head Of Community and Impact to spearhead these efforts.

We reached out to learn more about some of the ideas they had, what their goals were, and what effects they were hoping to have on their local communities. What we didn’t realize is how established their programs already are, and the impacts they’ve already had on their communities.

Little Sticks is the initial headline programme, but there is also an underlying strategy which establishes a direction of travel and the potential of additional programmes being implemented.

Jordan Stephenson - Majesticks GC Head of Community and Impact

While they stress that Little Sticks program is only the first step in a long series of charitable endeavors and community driven efforts, not only is the program more developed than we had imagined imagined, they’ve already completed a test run in 6 schools with fantastic results.

Little Sticks aims to support young people long-term to unleash their potential in life. Less focused on their ability to be high performing golfers, more aimed at becoming well-rounded individuals who can achieve their potential in life.

Jordan Stephenson - Majesticks GC Head of Community and Impact

Little Sticks is built on a foundation of providing comprehensive education and support to community leaders, equipping them with the tools and knowledge necessary to teach the game of golf, and more importantly the values that come along with it to their students.

The initial offering from the Little Sticks program provides local schools with SNAG (Starting New At Golf) equipment, activity cards, and learner guides for various golf centered activities. Each activity comes with a video of a Majesticks GC player explaining the specific activity and illustrating the life skill that the activity promotes. Additionally, the educators or community leaders are provided with a full training course to effectively run the program and rae connected with a local golf coach to further support them or provide continued education and access to golf facilities.

Each of the Majesticks GC captains have identified a life skill that they deemed crucial to the development of those in the Little Sticks Program, and four components of that life skill that they touch on in the videos.

Lee Westwood
Primary Life Skill: Resilience
Components of Resilience: Overcoming Problems; Emotional Regulation; Self-Belief; Support Structure

Ian Poulter
Primary Life Skill: Teamwork
Components of Teamwork: Communication; Conflict Resolution; Supportive; Responsibility

Henrik Stenson
Primary Life Skill: Respect
Components of Respect: Honesty; Empathy; Integrity; Kindness

The Little Sticks program was trialed in 6 schools, 5 in the UK and one in the US. The schools in the UK had students take the Warwick Edinburgh Mental Wellbeing test to determine the effects the program was having on the students. The students in these schools participated in the Little Sticks program over a 10 week period.

Of the students tested both pre-program and post-program, the percentage of students that had a negative wellbeing score dropped from 22%, to just 3%.

For a first time trial run over a 10 week period, these results are remarkable. These statistics not only validate the efforts put into the Little Sticks program, but provide illumination to the path ahead. They illustrate the importance of initiatives that seek to improve the mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing of the next generation.

All the pupils have engaged really well. There are a couple of pupils who have really excelled and taken this new sport under their wing. For example, Paris, who typically struggles to communicate with his lack of confidence. The Little Sticks curriculum has really helped Paris’ confidence and it is not something he would have been able to do last year.

Terry Stevens, Assitant Headteacher at Woodlands Secondary School, which caters to 11-18 year olds that have severe and/or profound learning difficulties. Woodlands Secondary School is one of the 6 trial locations for the Little Sticks program.

The journey of the Little Sticks program and Majesticks GC charitable goals are just beginning. While they are buoyed by the success of their pilot run, their goals extend far beyond the confines of the in school mentorship programs.

The Majesticks GC captains envision a future where they are able to continue the integration of golf into the education system and continue providing an avenue for people to reap the countless mental and physical health benefits that the game offers. They hope to expand their programs into partnerships with local golf facilities, teach skills to further employment opportunities, work with young people not in education, and more. All while not losing their primary focus, the development of life skills that will allow the Little Sticks participants to reach their full potential.

“We are committed to supporting young people who show an interest in the game to provide a pathway into recreational golf. With a focus on areas of deprivation, we know that there will be many barriers to sustainable golf participation in communities; so will endeavor to listen to the young people and understand what elements of “golf” they enjoy.”

Jordan Stephenson - Majesticks GC Head of Community and Impact

As Majesticks GC continues to drive forward with their charitable missions, the promise of the Little Sticks serves as a shining example of what can be accomplished when sport, community, and a shared vision for a better world come together. The team format of LIV Golf, with four players working cohesively toward a unified goal greatly increases the potential for programs like Little Sticks. While Majesticks GC is at the forefront of this, the LIV Golf structure provides great opportunity to enhance the reach and efficacy of these charitable initiatives.

So when people question how LIV Golf may be contributing to the growth of the game as a whole, their distinctive framework that promotes collective effort and common objectives is a pivotal part of it. If the ongoing success of initiatives such as the Little Sticks program is replicated by the other teams, the benefits have the potential to be felt throughout numerous communities for countless future generations.