As the best golfers in the world play for the 141st Open Championship at Royal Lytham & St Annes next week, the Golf Foundation is playing a pivotal role in introducing the next generation to the sport.
During Open Championship week, golf’s leading charity enjoys a unique opportunity to showcase its work thanks to strong and continued backing from The R&A. The Open Championship’s organisers will create ‘The R&A Swingzone’ in the tented village for eight days from 15 July. Here, in its role as a supporter of the England Golf Partnership, the Golf Foundation team will work alongside the Professional Golfers’ Association to create a buzz on all things grass roots golf.
Foundation team members will be highlighting the HSBC Golf Roots project that is having a huge impact on school and community golf. The Golf Foundation aims to reach one million youngsters per year through HSBC Golf Roots by 2013, creating follow-on opportunities for children at golf clubs and driving ranges in support of the national governing bodies of England, Wales and Scotland as they seek to grow the game.
During Open week, boys and girls will enjoy Golf Foundation Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme games, competitions and a special putting challenge sponsored by Titleist. Titleist caps can be won and on every day of the week each child who can hole three successive putts will enter a draw to win an excellent Titleist Scotty Cameron putter.
Many youngsters will also take advantage of the free lessons given by PGA professionals throughout the week. The pros are present thanks to the Professional Golfers’ Association, who sponsor the professionals to teach the young golfers as part of the organisation’s commitment to junior golf.
“We are again looking forward to offering visitors to The Open the opportunity to try golf, in some cases, for the first time,” said Duncan Weir, The R&A’s Executive Director for Working for Golf.
“The R&A Swingzone has been set up to cater for players of all ages and ability levels and we’re expecting a busy and productive week. Royal Lytham & St Annes always draws huge crowds and this year will be no different.”
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “The R&A continues to be a great supporter of our work to make golf more accessible to youngsters and our whole team is really looking forward to the week at Royal Lytham & St Annes this year.
“The Open is always special: for experienced golfers, those new to the game and all of us who care about growing the game. Seeing the best golfers in action can inspire children who have never previously picked up a club, and The R&A Swingzone will be the perfect place for them to do just that, and for new players to learn more with expert guidance. This is a great opportunity to show children and young people how exciting golf can be and introduce them to the excellent ‘skills for life’ benefits that golf offers.”
On Tuesday, 17 July, the Golf Foundation’s President, Colin Montgomerie, will be there to present the Foundation’s ‘Spirit of Golf Award’, which is presented to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to golf and has inspired youngsters to take up the game. The recipients to date have been Gary Player (2007), Tony Jacklin (2008), Lee Westwood (2009), Ian Poulter (2010) and Ernie Els (2011). The 2012 recipient has made a tremendous contribution to the game and shown continued support to junior golf and the Golf Foundation over many years (more on this to follow soon).
In recent times at The Open Championship, some of the game’s top players have enjoyed Tri-Golf games with boys and girls visiting the event, creating great fun for all involved.
This year there will be a repeat of the ‘Open Championship Tri-Golf Challenge’ enjoyed last year by among others Louis Oosthuizen, Colin Montgomerie, and Webb Simpson. In the past the likes of Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Ross Fisher, Adam Scott, Ian Poulter, Ben Curtis, Nick Dougherty, Paul Casey, Sandy Lyle, Soren Hansen, Paul Lawrie, Graeme Storm, Peter Baker, Zach Johnson, Bill Haas, Robert Karlsson, Jose-Filipe Lima, Niclas Fasth, Paul Broadhurst, Simon Dyson, Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano, and Martin Kaymer have all joined in and played energetic Tri-Golf games with the youngsters.
* To learn more about the Golf Foundation call 01992 449830 or see www.golf-foundation.org
* For media information on the Golf Foundation call Ben Evans on 01747 820384 or 07789 722853.