IN the week that should have been the 149th Open Championship, the Golf Foundation is channeling the spirit of “golf’s greatest tournament” to grow the game for juniors in golf clubs, schools and at home.
The Golf is Open for Kids digital campaign aims to inspire more boys, girls and families brand new to golf with a series of fun activities for all abilities.
It will also keeping established juniors enthused, playing and loving their golf together.
The #GolfisOpenforKids campaign will also offer practical advice for PGA professional coaches and school teachers so they can deliver group golf sessions while Covid-19 restrictions still apply.
The Golf Foundation charity is also calling on all golf clubs to support youngsters so they can enjoy fair time on the fairways when golf tee bookings are in high demand during the week the 149th Open Championship should have been played at Royal St George’s.
The R&A were forced to call off The Open at the famous Sandwich venue because of the COVID-19 crisis.
Instead, opportunities now include pointing youngsters towards PGA coaching offers at the charity’s network of junior-friendly HSBC Golf Roots Centres.
Youngsters will be encouraged to create and demonstrate their own adventure golf courses at home, and running a daily Open Championship player quiz.
Activities, games and coaching resources can all be accessed at https://bit.ly/2Om6t7W
Foundation backs Open for the Ages
THE Golf Foundation team will also be supporting The R&A’s ‘The Open for the Ages’ project.
It culminates in a three-hour broadcast production showing many of the best players of the last 50 years battling it out for the Claret Jug at the home of golf, St Andrews.
In normal years, the Foundation’s team would be present at The Open all week as guests of The R&A, its strongest supporter.
Normally coaches would welcome thousands of young people and families, introducing them to golf, only yards away from the fairways of the The Open Championship venue.
For some time, the Foundation has enjoyed a highly positive link during the week of The Open with HSBC – official sponsor of the charity’s national Golf Roots programme which gives a golf experience to more than 500,000 young people in schools and the community each year.
Around 45,000 extra youngsters have visited a golf club in the last year via the initiative.
Henman to watch Frilford session
HSBC ambassador Tim Henman has agreed to support the #GolfisOpenforKids campaign by visiting his local HSBC Golf Roots Centre
The 45-year-old, who grew up at Weston-on-the-Green, and still lives in Oxfordshire, will be at Frilford Heath Golf Club, on July 18.
The former Wimbledon tennis star will join in with a junior coaching session at the Oxfordshire club where European Tour winner Eddie Pepperell is also a member.
Henman said: “I’m delighted to be involved in this campaign and to help highlight the great work that HSBC does with the Golf Foundation through HSBC Golf Roots – an initiative that gives 500,000 children the opportunity to try the game each year.
“Golf has so many health and well-being benefits and helps teach mental resilience and life skills to young people who take up the game.
“These life skills are now more important than ever and I’m thrilled to add my support to the #GolfisOpenforKids campaign.”
Open door to help youngsters says Pyle
CHIEF executive Brendon Pyle said: “The Golf Foundation creates life changing opportunities for young people using the power of golf.
“We will all miss showcasing our work to the public in what is normally an amazing week in golf’s calendar.
“However, our team of passionate regional development officers is still determined to reach out and introduce new youngsters to golf with our activity and demonstrate how The Open embodies everything great for young people when learning the game and its life lessons.
“It’s fantastic that Tim Henman is supporting this important week for us.
“At its end, we may not be watching the next Open Champion together.
“But we certainly hope all our friends in golf clubs and schools will have helped thousands of boys and girls to enjoy some golf – wherever they hit the ball – to learn something good about the game and perhaps even dream of being a future Open Champion, or Women’s British Open Champion.
“This would make it a wonderful week for our young golfers.”
The Golf Foundation team plans to repeat the positive messages during the calendar week of the AIG Women’s British Open (August 17-23).