The aim is to create an environment where juniors can have fun whilst still learning the basic skills to help them develop their game.
The Road to The Open will see the Golf Foundation reach more than 40 school and community groups in Cheshire, Lancaster and Merseyside in the run up to The 151st Open at Royal Liverpool. Thanks to the help of valued local partners, the initiative is set to be the most inclusive to date, with visits lined up with five special needs schools, five secondary schools, and over 20 primary schools.
A purpose of these visits is also to introduce many boys and girls from all backgrounds to golf for the very first time through the use of adapted equipment.
Golf clubs from Cheshire and Merseyside will also take part in The Road to The Open Club Skills Challenge involving a number of fun golf-related activities. Six team members will take part for each club and scores will be recorded on a virtual leaderboard.
Added to this, a Club Skills Challenge event will be held alongside the final day of The Amateur Championship at Hillside Golf Club on Saturday 24th June with eight clubs and 48 young people competing.
Finally, careers education showcasing the many and varied opportunities to work in the golf industry will be provided to students at four secondary schools. This will include unique behind the scenes tours of The Open in operation for the participants, increasing the longer-term impact of The Open with the aim of encouraging future generations to work in the sport.
Phil Anderton, Chief Development Officer at The R&A, said, “Golf is enjoying a fantastic boom in popularity with more people playing the sport in recent years. It is vital that we capitalise on this opportunity and continue to work closely with our partners in golf to deliver fun and accessible initiatives that are attractive to people of all ages, including young people.
It is also important to leverage the heightened interest in golf throughout the region with The 151st Open being played at Royal Liverpool and so we look forward to seeing lots of young people being introduced to this great sport over the coming weeks.”
Jeremy Tomlinson, Chief Executive Officer of England Golf, said: “We’re delighted to collaborate with The R&A and the Golf Foundation with The Road to The Open project.
“Educating young people about the benefits of golf is one of the core strands of our Course Planner and it will be fantastic to see so many youngsters engaging with the game and, in many cases, having their first experience of golf thanks to this project.”
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive Officer of the Golf Foundation, said: “The Road to The Open is an exciting highlight of 2023 and we fully support The R&A and England Golf as a partner in this project. What better way to inspire the next generation of youngsters than to have them fully engaged, enjoying a brand-new game for themselves, and then to experience The Open as it leaves its legacy in their area?
“For some young people this will even mean the excitement of being at The Open and enjoying valuable work experience for the future. For a great many others it will mean being encouraged to try a sport that can offer so much, a healthy activity that boosts confidence and wellbeing for all abilities.”