The R&A has announced its full support of China’s only officially sanctioned junior golf development scheme, the HSBC China Junior Golf Programme, bringing £100,000 of funding and its expertise to help extend golf’s reach in China.
The programme was launched last May, attracting over 1,200 junior golfers to attend its seven tournaments and two summer camps. This year the scope of the programme will expand significantly, with the game being brought into 40 schools in the cities of Beijing, Hefei and Yunnan before also entering schools in Shanghai later in the year, resulting in more than 70,000 boys and girls being introduced to golf in 2008.
“Helping develop the game of golf in China is one of our key priorities,” said Duncan Weir, director of golf development for The R&A. “We‘re delighted to be a partner in a programme such as this. It’s something that will help us reach tens of thousands of potential new golfers, many of whom might not otherwise get the chance to try the game.”
The programme incorporates a series of tournaments held across China and a national ranking system for junior golfers has been created, with both being run jointly by the CGA and IMG. Also included are a series of summer camps at which players will receive intensive coaching on all aspects of the game.
John Cappo, managing director of IMG China Golf, said, “IMG do so much in professional golf it’s great to give something back, and with the blessing and backing of The R&A we can really take the programme to the next level.”
“What we have set out to do is create a structure on which all future development can be based,” said Giles Morgan, HSBC’s global head of sponsorship. “This structure promotes the growth of the game; it makes it more accessible and helps generate more and more golfers. But it also provides the foundation on which China can grow and develop its champions of the future.”
The R&A contributes more than £4 million to golf development each year, with a high percentage channelled in support of junior golf.
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