The Open Championship at Royal Liverpool Golf Club will provide the perfect showcase for the Golf Foundation’s ‘HSBC Golf Roots’ programme, the leading golf charity’s initiative that is introducing golf and its benefits to so many boys and girls every year in schools, golf clubs and communities.
Championship organisers The R&A will create the ‘R&A Swingzone’ in the tented village at Royal Liverpool for the whole of Open week. Here, the Golf Foundation’s team of enthusiastic regional development officers will deliver golf activity on behalf of the England Golf Partnership, sharing the facility with coaches from the Professional Golfers’ Association, and welcoming more than 30 school groups from the region to enjoy this unique event.
Young boys and girls will experience ‘Tri-Golf’ and ‘StreetGolf’ challenges, competitions and a special putting event supported by Titleist, all with the Foundation team. In a typical Open week, more than 3,000 golf challenges will be enjoyed by children of all ages.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “Thanks to The R&A, The Open week offers us a great opportunity to demonstrate our work in developing the game at the grass roots.
“The Foundation team will enjoy working side-by-side with the PGA Professionals to grow the game. Just as the big names will inspire the youngsters on the course, we hope to inspire many children to pick up a club and have a go at golf.”
Mike added: “The many families who visit The Open from the North West region are some of the most committed and knowledgeable of all golf fans, and they always give us a great reception. Our team looks forward to making many new friends at Hoylake during the week.”
Professional stars who are competing in The Open itself are being invited to take part in lively skills competitions with the youngsters to find the best Tri-Golfer in the world. Rory McIlroy, Adam Scott, Louis Oosthuizen, Lee Westwood and the Foundation’s own President, Colin Montgomerie, are just some of the names who have joined in with the children to support the Golf Foundation in recent years.
The golf charity uses the opportunity at The Open each year to present its ‘Spirit of Golf Award’, handed to a leading golfer who, in the charity’s opinion, has been a great inspiration and/or supporter of junior golfers. The name of this year’s recipient remains top secret until 15th July, but he is a major winner and something of a legend. He will join a list of illustrious past winners that includes Gary Player (2007), Tony Jacklin (2008), Lee Westwood (2009), Ian Poulter (2010), Ernie Els (2011), Peter Alliss (2012) and Tom Watson (2013).
The Golf Foundation is also one of the partners supporting ‘The Road to The Open’, a unique initiative that seeks to attract new players of all ages to golf in the build-up to The Open itself. Wirral Community Golf Coach Neil Price (who competed in The Open in 1999) has taken the branded Road to The Open roadshow van around the region, spreading the message that golf is fun and working with schools to introduce them to the game. Activity includes 16 school assembly visits, golf coaching at big sports events in the area and supporting golf days at local golf clubs.
To complete this great endeavour, 34 planned school groups will visit the Foundation team at the R&A Swingzone, playing Tri-Golf, StreetGolf and including youngsters with disabilities and special educational needs.
Pictures of Tom Watson and Louis Oosthuizen from event/visits in previous years and a youngster concentrating hard on the putting challenge, supported by Titleist.