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How the power of football can show young people the ‘Road to the Open’

Just days before the 146th Open Championship and almost a chip and a putt from Royal Birkdale, the Golf Foundation is hosting its own National StreetGolf Championship Final. Young fans normally cheering on Rooney or Rashford will be following Rory and Rose as new young players from community golf programmes across 11 Premier League and Championship football clubs tee it up in a unique golf event which draws on the ‘power of football’.

Teenagers from diverse backgrounds and traditionally non-golfing families and communities will be wearing their favourite teams’ football kits to compete for the coveted title of National StreetGolf Champions. Most of the players will have only recently encountered a golf course for the first time as they meet for the Final at Formby Hall on Monday, 17th July.

Following this experience the young players will be invited along to Royal Birkdale by The R&A to soak up the atmosphere of the first practice day at The Open, comparing their own new swings with those of the world’s finest.

Thanks to a partnership with the Premier League and Sport England, the Golf Foundation, the sport’s leading charity for young people, has developed StreetGolf as an exciting new initiative for teenagers which introduces them to golf in their own community before providing the opportunity to play at the local golf club with help from the resident and junior-friendly PGA Professional Coach.

The finalists have taken part in local StreetGolf festivals and short course events at local golf clubs before qualifying for the Formby Hall event, which is an integral part of the ‘Road to the Open’ project, run by the PGA, England Golf and the Golf Foundation and funded by The R&A, to provide opportunities for people to learn to play golf, and play golf more regularly.

Teams present for the final on Formby Hall’s par-3 course will be from regional football club projects including: Aston Villa, Blackburn Rovers, Crystal Palace, Derby County, Middlesbrough, Sheffield Wednesday, Southampton, Stoke City, and a team from Mid Wales.

Golf Foundation National Development Manager Martin Crowder says: “The aim of this national project has been to connect all the benefits of playing golf, including learning life skills associated with the game, with the wider audience in major footballing communities, using the ‘power of football’ thanks to the Premier League.

“We aim to provide all the youngsters involved with a pathway into golf clubs and potential membership. The boys and girls will be wearing their home club football kits which perhaps reflects how this unique initiative is introducing a whole new demographic of young people to the joys of golf.”

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