The Golf Foundation believes this year’s Open Championship presents a “golden opportunity” to highlight the importance of bringing new young players into the game.
While much of a special week will celebrate 150 years of Open Championship history, welcoming many former winners and greats of the game to St Andrews, The Open will also be about the future. The event will attract thousands of youngsters to golf this summer, offering them a new sport which has positive benefits they can enjoy all their lives.
Championship organisers The R&A will create ‘The R&A Swingzone’ in the tented village for the whole of Open week, which leading golf charity the Golf Foundation will share with clubgolf, Scotland’s national strategy for golf, and the Professional Golfers’ Association, both of which the Golf Foundation supports strongly.
Due to the venue and the 150th anniversary, the Golf Foundation is hoping that the number of boys and girls visiting the junior attractions will exceed the 4,000 plus recorded last year at Turnberry.
The R&A Swingzone will provide an exciting environment for youngsters to sample golf while giving the Foundation an excellent venue to showcase its Golf Roots programmes to all visitors and the media.
Young boys and girls will enjoy Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme challenges, 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 daily draw to win an excellent Titleist Scotty Cameron putter.
A key element of the Foundation’s work is its support of the national golf partnerships of England, Scotland and Wales to grow the game and at St Andrews development officers will link up with Scotland’s clubgolf team to welcome children from the first Sunday of practice to the final Sunday of play; eight days of junior fun (11-18 July).
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.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “The Open week gives us a golden opportunity to showcase Golf Roots, which opens up the game to children from all backgrounds and abilities and offers them ‘Skills for life’. Golf Roots initiatives in clubs, communities and cities have greatly increased the number of schools offering golf to youngsters and increased the number of golf clubs with formal links to our schools. This co-ordinated strategy working with the national golf partnerships will help us to reach a million children a year through golf by 2013.”
Mike added: “The R&A is a great supporter of our work and has created a fantastic facility in the Swingzone. The Foundation team will be highly focused on making this a great week for young people new to golf and we look forward to working with the clubgolf team and the excellent PGA professionals who do such a great job every year during the Open Championship.
“Hopefully St Andrews will help to bring in a new generation of young golfers to all our golf clubs and help the sport to make further strong progress in the years ahead.”
Golf Foundation call www.golf-foundation.org