Friday, 9th December, 2016

Open Championship: ‘Fantastic opportunity’ to inspire more young golfers

Story published at 14:40, Tuesday, July 12th, 2016


Golf Roots at The Open Championship 2013 Picture Credit: Mark Newcombe / visionsingolf.com

Tom Watson in the SwingZone with trophy (picture Mark Newcombe / visionsingolf.com)

The Open Championship at Royal Troon can provide the perfect showcase for the Golf Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme, helping the charity connect with visiting families to inspire many more youngsters into golf.

The R&A, one of the Foundation’s major supporters, will create ‘The R&A SwingZone’ in the Spectator Village at Royal Troon for the whole of Open week. Here, the Golf Foundation team of regional officers will deliver golf activity in partnership with ClubGolf Scotland, while sharing the facility with coaches from the PGA (who are giving free lessons to spectators all week) and welcoming children and their parents to enjoy this unique venue.

The R&A SwingZone will be a high-energy hub for the week as younger boys and girls play the colourful Tri-Golf format, with expert help from the Golf Foundation team (this charity wants to encourage as many girls as possible into the game and its formats are all designed for girls to enjoy and feel safe when playing).

Darren Clarke in the SwingZone

Darren Clarke in the SwingZone

For the 11+ aged kids the StreetGolf area will feed their imaginations as they get to hit rapid-fire shots into dustbins, umbrellas, knock tin-cans flying, while still learning to chip with the assured touch of an Open Champion! Teenagers will also be encouraged to play the part of ‘Tournament Director’: design their own golf game live, shoot a video clip and share it with friends back home on social media.

All family members will also be able to put their putting skills to the test in a creative putting challenge supported by Titleist. Successful putting strokes will be rewarded with Titleist golf balls and caps and each day a premium Titleist Scotty Cameron putter will be presented to a lucky winner.

A highlight of the week will be the visit of Dame Laura Davies to receive the Golf Foundation’s Spirit of Golf Award, the first female recipient of this prestigious accolade, with previous winners including Tom Watson, Gary Player, Ian Poulter and Tony Jacklin.

The Golf Foundation is also supporting the ‘HSBC Hour’, in which 250 golf clubs in England, Scotland and Wales are to stage an ‘HSBC Hour’ during Open week to welcome new golfers to the club environment.

The Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme helps young people to enjoy the benefits of golf and encourages them to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the game through a unique community-to-club pathway. It reaches 500,000 boys and girls per year but has ambitious targets. For example, in England, by 2018 the charity is looking to encourage 50,000 extra youngsters through the gates of a golf club each year via HSBC Golf Roots, with 15,000 playing regular golf from there.

In Scotland, the Golf Foundation is a committed supporter of ClubGolf, Scottish Golf’s national golf programme for young people.

Golf Foundation StreetGolf has played a key part in Scottish Golf ’s ‘Drive to The Open and Beyond’ this summer, in which children across South Ayrshire have been playing to qualify for a StreetGolf Challenge in Troon to help tee-up The Open itself.

The StreetGolf project is enjoying support of £3,650 from the Stanley Morrison Charitable Trust, which has given generously to the Golf Foundation for golf projects involving young people in Scotland for 20 years.

Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said:  “Thanks to this great backing from The R&A, which is one of our leading supporters, The Open week offers us a fantastic opportunity to demonstrate our work, with our partners, in developing the game at the grass roots.”

Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org

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