National charity the Golf Foundation is readying a week of celebratory junior activities to offer children a chance-of-a-lifetime golf experience during The Open at Royal St George’s, Kent.
The rallying call for the charity and its supporters will be #CreatingGolfers as all who care about junior golf can get behind growing the junior game.
An opportunity denied for new young golfers last year – due to Covid-19 – is an opportunity to be embraced now. The Golf Foundation will showcase its HSBC Golf Roots programme as guest of its strongest supporter The R&A, and will partner England Golf in The R&A SwingZone in the Spectator Village for the whole week (July 11-18).
Boys and girls and their family members will be able to putt for prizes in the Titleist Putting Challenge, take part in fun and high-energy new ‘Golfway’ skills games, and relish against-the-clock team challenges, while parents can learn more about where their kids can take their junior golf further in schools and golf clubs after The Open finishes.
As well as going out to watch the world’s best players competing for the Claret Jug on the fairways, youngsters and their families can also book free lessons with expert PGA Professional coaches who are present in The R&A SwingZone all week, right beside the Golf Foundation team.
On Monday of Open week (July 12), the Foundation welcomes 10 schools from Kent to take part in a unique School Games Festival Final, playing Golfway games in The R&A SwingZone.
Cheering on the boys and girls are special guests in former European Tour star and Sky Sports presenter Nick Dougherty, who is a friend of the Golf Foundation and supporter of junior golf, HSBC Ambassador, Wimbledon legend and passionate golfer Tim Henman, and the Golf Foundation’s own new Ambassador Nicola Bennett, a committed PGA coach working to open up golf for youngsters from all backgrounds.
On the Wednesday of Open week (July 14) the Golf Foundation team launches ‘Golfway’, seen in public for the very first time. Golfway is at the core of the new Golf Foundation Primary School Programme which which will give a first try at golf to two million children of all abilities in 7,500 schools over the next five years, as a key part of the Foundation’s national HSBC Golf Roots initiative.
Golfway is an easy-to-learn new format, a fun way of playing which suits children of all abilities, and can provide swing fundamentals that help bridge the gap between first hits in school and the first lesson at a golf venue with a PGA coach. Golfway is designed and produced for the Golf Foundation by the Masters Golf Company. It will be launched at The Open with the support of new Ambassador Nicola Bennett, who has a passion for bringing golf into schools. Nicola, a PGA Trainee Professional, will be joined by youngsters from Valence Primary School in East London to demonstrate the new equipment at Royal St George’s.
It’s not just about the kids at The Open: golf lovers of all ages in the family will have the chance to win one of three top-of-the-range Titleist Scotty Cameron putters in a unique putting challenge supported by Titleist, along with Titleist golf balls and caps.
Seventeen organised groups of children from regional golf clubs and schools have also been invited to The R&A SwingZone to get a taste of the game. Plans are also in place to invite young people brand new to golf from two of the Golf Foundation’s recently set up London city community projects.
All of the Golf Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme is focused on introducing children to golf, from all backgrounds, creating golfers. The charity does this because golf can change lives and #CreatingGolfers will be its hashtag for Open week across social media.
Of great support to the charity in this week, the Golf Foundation team will welcome to The R&A SwingZone HSBC Ambassadors Tim Henman and Brian O’Driscoll, the Ireland and British Lions rugby legend, with Tim and Brian stepping up to the challenge of playing fun Golfway games with the visiting children and families.
Meanwhile, staff from the Golf Foundation and England Golf will be present all week in The R&A SwingZone to talk with all visitors who have a wish to grow the junior game. The two organisations share a common cause in encouraging children from all backgrounds to enjoy all the benefits and opportunities of golf, and partner on innovative initiatives such as GolfSixes League, Girls Golf Rocks and more.
This opportunity at The Open for the Golf Foundation follows The R&A’s decision in 2019 to strengthen its support of this charity’s work, including an investment of £2 million over the four years.
Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle said: “Being invited to have such a strong presence at The Open this week, after such a difficult year for everyone, is not only a major opportunity for junior golf but one to really celebrate. Everyone in my Golf Foundation team and our friends from England Golf and the Professional Golfers’ Association can’t wait to meet the kids and get them enjoying a first try at golf.
“Our charity’s HSBC Golf Roots programme is ready to make a strategic impact over the next five years in schools, communities and golf clubs and I think the week of The Open is the real start of this journey. We are particularly grateful to our colleagues from The R&A who have been able to provide the junior facility for this activity at such a challenging time logistically. We can’t wait to get started!”