Leading charity the Golf Foundation will be able to welcome thousands of youngsters to try golf during next week’s Open Championship at Royal St George’s, thanks to support from The R&A.
As millions watch the championship, the Golf Foundation has a unique opportunity to showcase its ‘Golf Roots’ programme, which encourages children from all backgrounds and circumstances to enjoy golf and is on course to reach one million youngsters a year by 2013.
The Championship’s organisers will create ‘The R&A Swingzone’ in the tented village for the whole of Open week. Here, the Golf Foundation team will work alongside The Professional Golfers’ Association and on behalf of the England Golf Partnership to introduce golf to new participants from Sunday, July 10, until the close of proceedings a week later.
Highlights of the week will include a visit to The R&A Swingzone from the new Golf Foundation President, Colin Montgomerie, and other leading players are expected to meet the visiting youngsters and answer questions about what it takes to be a top professional.
Through invited school groups and family visits, young boys and girls can play Tri-Golf and Golf Xtreme games, 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 draw to win an excellent Titleist Scotty Cameron putter.
More than 5,000 children enjoyed some golf with the Golf Foundation team at St Andrews last year.
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. Last year, a record 2,400 lessons were given during the event.
The Golf Foundation team will also recreate the ‘Open Championship Tri-Golf Challenge’, enjoyed last year by among others Louis Oosthuizen and Zach Johnson, in which players take part in a 30-second scoring Tri-Golf shoot-out. In the recent past the likes of Lee Westwood, Rory McIlroy, Martin Kaymer, Ross Fisher, Adam Scott, Ian Poulter, Ben Curtis, Paul Casey, Sandy Lyle, Robert Karlsson and Pablo Larrazabal have all joined in and played energetic Tri-Golf games with the youngsters.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “The R&A is a great supporter of our work and The Open week enables us to raise the profile of the Golf Roots programme, which opens up the game to children from all backgrounds and abilities and offers them ‘Skills for Life’.
"The R&A’s year-round funding of Golf Roots and The R&A’s experience as a development organisation is helping us to achieve some ambitious targets in our support of the national plans for the growth of the game in England, Scotland and Wales.
* To learn more about Golf Roots and the Golf Foundation call 01992 449830 or see www.golf-foundation.org