In the week that should have been the 149th Open Championship, the national charity the Golf Foundation is channelling the spirit of the greatest golf tournament of all to grow the game for juniors in golf clubs, schools and at home.
The #GolfisOpenforKids digital media campaign in the week ahead aims to inspire more boys, girls and families brand new to golf with a series of fun activities for all abilities, while also keeping established juniors enthused, playing and loving their golf together.
#GolfisOpenforKids will also offer practical advice for PGA professional coaches and school teachers so they can deliver group golf sessions in these Covid-19 restricted times while calling on all golf clubs to support youngsters so they may enjoy fair time on the fairways while golf tee booking is in high demand.
Opportunities for the week will include signposting youngsters to PGA coaching offers at the charity’s network of junior-friendly HSBC Golf Roots Centres, encouraging youngsters to create and demonstrate their own adventure golf courses at home, and running a daily Open Championship player quiz.
The Golf Foundation team will also be supporting The R&A’s ‘The Open for the Ages’ project, an innovation culminating 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, welcoming thousands of young people and families and introducing them to golf, only yards away from The Open fairways.
For some time, the Foundation has enjoyed a highly positive link during the week of The Open with HSBC, the 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, with around 45,000 extra youngsters visiting a golf club in the last year via this initiative.
HSBC Ambassador Tim Henman, who would normally take part in the Foundation’s activities at The Open, has generously agreed to support the #GolfisOpenforKids campaign by visiting his local HSBC Golf Roots Centre at Frilford Heath Golf Club on Saturday 18 July and joining in with a junior coaching session.
Tim 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 half a million 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.”
Golf Foundation Chief Executive Brendon Pyle said: “The Golf Foundation creates life-changing opportunities for young people using the power of golf, and 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 messaging of #GolfisOpenforKids during the calendar week of the AIG Women’s British Open (starting August 17).