Thousands of new junior golfers and their families will be introduced to golf in a charity initiative at The 148th Open.
National charity the Golf Foundation and the Confederation of Golf in Ireland are looking forward to welcoming several thousand youngsters and family members new to the sport during the 148th Open Championship at Royal Portrush Golf Club in Northern Ireland next week.
The Golf Foundation is guest of its strongest supporter The R&A and is working alongside colleagues from the Confederation of Golf in Ireland (CGI) in the ‘R&A SwingZone’ for the whole week (from Sunday to Sunday). The facility in the Spectator Village is a wonderful and unique opportunity to grow the game further amongst young people in Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The Tri-Golf Challenge
Youngsters of all abilities will get to play energetic and fun ‘Tri-Golf' challenges, while all family members can enjoy the Titleist Putting Challenge and the opportunity to win one of eight top-of-the-range Titleist Scotty Cameron putters.
Sixteen organised groups of children from regional golf clubs, school and charity projects have also been invited to the R&A SwingZone before going on to watch the stars of world golf out on the links.
The Tri-Golf format plays a key role in the Golf Foundation reaching 500,000 youngsters a year, creating a pathway from discovering golf in schools and the community to playing regularly at golf clubs. The Foundation’s HSBC Golf Roots programme encourages young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport and enjoy its ‘Skills for Life’ benefits.
PGA Professionals will also be on hand to provide free golf lessons to spectators of all ages and abilities. While some lucky spectators will have the opportunity to meet HSBC Ambassadors Brian O’Driscoll and Tim Henman.
The fun continues on ‘Open Saturday’ (July 20) at nearby Portstewart GC, where local boys and girls will show off their new golf skills to help promote the ‘HSBC Hour’. This is a special initiative run with Golf Foundation sponsor HSBC which promotes open access to more than 550 junior-friendly golf clubs in England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland; when juniors and family members are asked to bring along a friend to experience golf and their golf club.
The R&A strengthen support of the Golf Foundation
This opportunity for the Golf Foundation follows The R&A’s recent decision to strengthen its support of the Foundation, including an investment of £2 million over the next four years.
Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle said: “The considerable support of The R&A reaches all aspects of our work, all year round. However, by backing our team so well at The Open, this presents a wonderful and unique opportunity to inspire the next generation of enthusiastic young golfers. The Foundation and our partners all look forward to welcoming a great many families to Royal Portrush for what should be a fantastic week.”
Spirit of Golf Award
Meanwhile, on the Tuesday practice day, the Golf Foundation is set to make the presentation of the charity’s ‘Spirit of Golf Award’, given each year to a leading international golfer who has inspired juniors in the way they have played the game and the respect they have shown their sport and its participants. This year’s winner will follow names such as Tom Watson, Gary Player, Tony Jacklin, Padraig Harrington, and Colin Montgomerie in receiving this prestigious award.