The Golf Foundation believes this year’s Open Championship, held at Carnoustie, is a major opportunity to flag up the cause of junior grass roots golf and boost player numbers for the future.
Around 4,000 youngsters will experience golf activities during Open week and the event serves as a great showcase for the Golf Foundation’s work in supporting the national partnerships to increase young people’s participation in the game.
At Carnoustie from 15-22 July The R&A will create the R&A Junior Golf Centre in the event’s ‘tented village’. Here the Foundation will welcome youngsters to play Tri-Golf games, learn a little more about golf and even meet some of the leading players who are competing in The Open.
During the last two Open Championships an estimated 5,000 children have played Tri-Golf with the Foundation and a total of 13 Tour stars have joined the youngsters in fun-packed golf games, players including Sandy Lyle, Paul Lawrie, Ian Poulter and Adam Scott.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said, “The Open Championship is a wonderful opportunity to inspire a new generation of golfers. Visiting youngsters will see all this junior activity thanks to the R&A Junior Golf Centre, while also watching the great players out there on the course. Many thousands of youngsters will also be viewing the action on BBC television.
“The Open is also an opportunity for the committed Golf Foundation development team to showcase some of its work carried out in schools, communities and golf clubs during the rest of the year.”
Initiatives which have seen strong development in the last year include ‘School Links’, which is rapidly developing golf in both primary and secondary schools, and ‘Community Links’, where the Foundation assists golf facilities with their outreach programmes.
Other recent successes include the revamped Junior Golf Passport, the structured learning programme for youngsters which locks the school and community initiatives together and the new Golf Roots programme for 2007, taking golf into seven inner cities to create sustainable golf projects for children from many different backgrounds.
During The Open, the Foundation will be sharing the R&A Junior Golf Centre with the PGA. A team of PGA professionals will be giving free lessons to visiting youngsters for the whole week, as part of the organisation’s commitment to junior golf. Last year, just under 200 lessons were given each day.
In Scotland, the Golf Foundation supports clubgolf, the national partnership which aims to create, by 2009, the opportunity for every child to have an introduction to golf by the time they are nine years old.
Supporting this aim, the Foundation will welcome many clubgolf groups to the Junior Centre during Open Championship week.
The Golf Foundation is a charity committed to the sporting and social development of young people through golf. It helps young people to develop both playing and personal skills and supports the national golf partnerships in England, Scotland and Wales.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org