The British Golf Industry Association gave a significant boost for junior golf in Britain as it handed over a £24,000 cheque to the Golf Foundation at St Andrews, during The Open Championship.
The Golf Foundation is the junior golf charity that is committed to helping to introduce more youngsters to the game and maintaining that early interest as they develop. The work it carries out is receiving great praise, but as a charity, it needs more money to continue to succeed.
Mike Round, chief executive of the Golf Foundation, said, “We would like to thank all the members of the BGIA for their help in raising this money for the Golf Foundation. We reach around 500,000 children a year through schools, our Starter Centres and golf clubs, and we are working hard to bring the game to more and more new youngsters.
“This is a tremendous challenge but one we are committed to. We rely on help and financial support from anyone who can afford to help, and wants to help, junior golf. Donations like this one from the BGIA make all the difference. While the golf trade is doing its bit I want to see more investment in junior golf coming from the wider business community, and that is one of the central messages from the Golf Foundation during The Open this year at St Andrews.”
Each day at The Open, hundreds of children, from as young as five, played Tri-Golf, the modified game using colourful equipment. Speaking to guests at the charity’s annual Open Championship lunch, Mike Round explained that the Foundation is reaching children who would never have previously tried the sport – through schools (reaching approaching 3,000 primary schools across Britain), after-school clubs, golf clubs and a new ‘Golf Roots’ inner city campaign to bring golf to everyone. “All this costs a lot of money and yet we have to rely on ad hoc donations all too often,” he said.
“We have in place a programme where golf clubs can ask members to pay just £1 extra on their annual membership. Just £1 from members all over the country would make an immediate and lasting impact on junior golf. It really is that simple, and if more of the big business community – and many of the top people in this field claim to be passionate golfers – could also start helping more it will be fantastic news for junior golf.”
The Junior Golf Centre was run for the week by the Foundation, the PGA (where PGA Professionals give free lessons) and clubgolf. clubgolf is the national partnership for the development of junior golf in Scotland that brings together the SGU, SLGA, PGA, Golf Foundation and sportscotland. The clubgolf strategy has been developed as a direct result of the Scottish Executive’s commitment to introduce every nine-year-old child in Scotland to the game by 2009.
Over the course of the week around 4,000 children came along to the centre and took part in a range of golfing activities, including Tri-Golf sessions, the PING-sponsored clubgolf-Golf Foundation Putting Challenge and PGA coaching.
Golf Foundation www.golf-foundation.org