England Golf strengthens Golf Foundation bond on ‘Road to The Open’

England Golf and the Golf Foundation have strengthened their commitment to working more closely together in order to ensure a greater number of young people develop a lifelong love of the sport.

This year, both organisations are delighted to announce they will collaborate to promote The R&A’s ‘Road to The Open’ – an innovative project designed to encourage young people to join the journey as golf’s original championship heads to Royal St George’s Golf Club in Kent.

The ‘Road to The Open’ – backed by The R&A – sets out to deliver golf activity in a range of environments using The 149th Open in July as an inspirational backdrop.

There is already a huge buzz around The Open heading back to Royal St George’s for the first time since 2011.

Now the 2020 ‘Road to the Open’ will seek to engage local communities and help create a lasting legacy for golf throughout the county of Kent.

The scale of the project around an Open Championship is unprecedented.

The Golf Foundation and England Golf will work closely with 125 schools and 25 golf clubs in Kent.  In addition, the project will involve fun events at adventure golf courses, four StreetGolf clubs, 15 School Games events and 18 clubs playing in three local GolfSixes Leagues.

Taking golf into new locations, supported by the famous Claret Jug on tour, the joint initiative aims to engage with 10,000 children and young people and spark an interest in golf that can last a lifetime.

Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “England Golf is one of our most popular, important strategic partners and we collaborate well on several different initiatives that ensure an effective player pathway from school to club to membership.

“The ‘Road to the Open’ is a perfect example of how the two organisations work well together for the benefit of growing the game in England.

“Based on trust and a recognition of each partner’s strengths, we look forward to a new era of joint working in England for the benefit of young people in golf and the future of our sport.”

Jeremy Tomlinson, Chief Executive of England Golf, said: “England Golf and the Golf Foundation share a vision for the future of golf with young people at the very heart of our sport.

“At England Golf we are passionate about what we do and The R&A’s ‘Road to the Open’ project allows us to showcase golf to the next generation.

“We now look forward to developing our relationship with the Golf Foundation in a way that helps encourage more and more young people to enjoy the social, sporting and health benefits associated with this wonderful game.”

The R&A has committed £2 million to the Golf Foundation over a four-year period to support its drive to inspire more young people to play golf and to encourage them to stay within the sport to boost membership.

Duncan Weir, Executive Director – Golf Development and Amateur Championships at The R&A, said: “We are pleased to support the Golf Foundation and England Golf in their golf development efforts and the ‘Road to The Open’ project which aims to introduce golf to a new audience.

“Attracting new golfers is pivotal to the long-term success of the sport and The 149th Open provides the perfect setting for young people to learn about, try and experience golf.”

The ‘Road to the Open’ follows on from a number of existing, key initiatives which sees England Golf partner with the Golf Foundation to ensure a player pathway from school through to club.

GolfSixes League has quickly become a major project in growing junior memberships at golf clubs, supported by The R&A and the European Tour. This year’s events will be enjoyed by 6,400 boys and girls at 475 clubs across the UK.

Since 2015, Girls Golf Rocks has helped more than 5,000 beginner girl golfers in England learn that golf can be a fun, sociable, cool and athletic sport. With PGA professional coaching support at each club and the Foundation training existing girl players as ambassadors, the programme will be rolled out by England Golf and the Golf Foundation to 200 clubs across 35 counties in 2020.

Another collaboration involves a dedicated group of Young Ambassadors. This team of 17 young people has also created the Hero’s Handshake project which recognises juniors who have made a positive impact at their golf club.

Safeguarding issues are at the heart of all work carried out by England Golf and the Golf Foundation.

At HSBC Golf Roots Centres, the Golf Foundation carries out DBS checks, safeguarding training and child protection policies.

England Golf’s network of club support officers are helping clubs and counties work to achieve SafeGolf status ahead of it becoming a mandatory part of the affiliation process from January 2021.

Together, England Golf and the Golf Foundation aim to ensure a vibrant and successful future for golf.

England Golf is the governing body for the amateur game promoting the sport as a fun and fully inclusive activity for all ages through its work with over 1,800 golf clubs, 630,000 golf club members and the wider golfing community.

National children’s charity the Golf Foundation changes the lives of young people by introducing them to golf.  It provides opportunities for them to keep playing and developing the skills for life that the sport teaches them.

Learn more about The 149th Open at www.theopen.com

Photography credit: Leaderboard