FORMER One Direction star Nial Horan is to lead a drive by The R&A to create new grassroots programmes aimed at inspiring more young people to play the game.
The new programmes will be launched later this year by Horan’s Modest! Golf company, and provide more opportunities for young people to be introduced to golf.
They will utilise fun and accessible formats of the sport that are more in tune with how today’s generation uses its leisure time
They will also be designed to encourage them to stay within the sport, the R&A said today.
The power of social media influencers from the sports and entertainment world will be used to present the sport in a more positive light to new audiences and challenge some of the more unhelpful perceptions that exist about golf.
R&A chief development officer Phil Anderton said, “Modest! Golf has a wealth of expertise and insight from the entertainment and sports industries.
“That will be combined with our experience of developing golf around the world to establish exciting new initiatives aimed at reaching new audiences and inspiring more young people into playing golf with their family and friends.
“Our relationship with Modest! Golf is built on a shared ambition for golf to be viewed as a fun, friendly and accessible sport that is inclusive of all people no matter their age, gender, ability or background.
Horan ‘hugely passionate about golf’
“We look forward to working together to broaden its appeal through our networks in golf and encourage young people to enjoy its many social and health benefits.”
Horan, who founded Modest! Golf in 2016, said, “I am so proud to work alongside The R&A in developing programmes to encourage and inspire more young people to play the game of golf.
“It is something my company Modest! Golf is hugely passionate about and I am honoured that chief executive Martin Slumbers, Phil Anderton and The R&A are entrusting my agency to help drive the game forward.
“The R&A has a long legacy within the game and I look forward to helping to create new and modern initiatives to showcase to the younger generation just what a great sport golf is.”
Modest! Golf evolved from entertainment agency Modest! Management and was founded by Horan and former Taylormade manager Mark McDonnell five years ago.
It is responsible for the management of professional golfers including BMW PGA Champion Tyrrell Hatton, Ireland’s former World Amateur No. 1 Leona Maguire, Scotland’s Connor Syme, Germany’s Olivia Cowan and Italy’s Guido Migliozzi as well as world top five disability golfer Brendan Lawlor.
Modest! also aims to promote inclusivity and opportunity through events like the ISPS Handa World Invitational, and the Horan & Rose charity tournament, which has raised over £2 million for children’s charities across the world, with Hampshire’s Justin Rose.
Hatton flying with Horan’s team
NIAL HORAN, who played golf, football and gaelic football as a youngster, caddied for Rory McIlroy in the Par 3 Contest at the 2015 Augusta Masters.
The One Direction singer, who has had four UK No. 1s with 1D, has been a regular at the BMW PGA Pro-Am at Wentworth, where Hatton claimed his third Rolex Series win in October.
Hatton, who also won the first Rolex event series of 2021 in the HSBC Abu Dhabi Championship on Sunday, signed for Modest! Golf in 2019.
The Marlow golfer, who came through the B.B.&O. junior ranks, signed an extended deal in November, having secured his first PGA Tour win at the Arnold Palmer Invitational in March 2020.
Horan’s delight after capturing Hatton’s signature on a longer deal was clear. He said in November: “We are so proud to resign Tyrrell to the business.
“His golf this past 18 months has been incredible.
“To not only witness him make his breakthrough in America and win for the first time on the PGA Tour, but to also watch him win the European Tour’s flagship event at the BMW, was something really special.
“We’re just so delighted and proud to be on that journey with him.”
The 29-year-old’s four-shot victory in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, means Hatton’s place in Padraig Harrington’s European team to face the USA in September’s Ryder Cup, at Whistling Straits, is nailed on.
Hatton made his Ryder Cup debut in Europe’s record victory against America in Paris in 2018, earning one point for Thomas Bjorn’s side in his three matches.