Paul Lawrie ‘coming home’ to inspire youngsters with the Golf FoundationPaul Lawrie’s homecoming to Carnoustie, where he first wowed youngsters in 1999 when winning The Open Championship, will be the highlight of a week in which the Golf Foundation is expecting to welcome 5,000 youngsters new to the sport. Paul Lawrie will be encouraging the kids while receiving the charity’s top annual award, yards away from the course on which the Golf Foundation’s founder Sir Henry Cotton won his second Open Championship in 1937.
From the first Sunday (July 15) and for the whole of Open Championship week, the Golf Foundation will open its junior area in the ‘R&A Swing Zone’ for eight days of free junior golf fun, welcoming families to Carnoustie’s Spectator Village. As guests of The R&A and working with Scottish Golf and the PGA, the Foundation team will be encouraging the kids to putt and chip their hearts out and learn more about how and where to play (the kids get to play but all ages can enjoy a putt – last year more than 6,000 Open visitors enjoyed this experience). Nearly 20 groups of children from regional golf clubs will also be welcomed in support of Scottish Golf.
Topping the bill is the great player who won that dramatic Open Championship in 1999, Paul Lawrie OBE (Tuesday, July 17). Paul is to receive this year’s Golf Foundation ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award in recognition of his great achievements in golf and for all the extra work Paul has carried out to inspire young people through the Paul Lawrie Foundation in Scotland.
Paul follows names such as Tom Watson, Gary Player, Tony Jacklin, Darren Clarke, and Colin Montgomerie in receiving this prestigious award, but Paul will certainly have to earn it by taking on local youngsters in a specially created ‘Champions Tri-Golf Challenge’. Golf Foundation CEO Brendon Pyle said: “We are really looking forward to welcoming Paul here at his spiritual home as the last Scottish player to win The Open on his own turf. Paul first inspired young people by winning at Carnoustie and he has continued to excel in helping to develop the next generation of young players. He is hugely deserving of this honour.”
The Golf Foundation is also delighted to welcome Meghan MacLaren as its new Ambassador (Thursday, July 19) as this charity works with its partners to encourage more girls into the sport. In a short event to mark this, Meghan will put local youngsters through their paces in a set of Tri-Golf challenges and answer their questions about her career in golf.
The Golf Foundation is the nationally recognised charity that works with national partners to encourage young people to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the sport and enjoy its ‘Skills for Life’ benefits. Its HSBC Golf Roots programme reaches 500,000 youngsters a year, creating a pathway from discovering golf in schools and the community to playing regular golf at golf clubs.
This positive development story continues on ‘Open Saturday’ (July 21) at nearby Monifieth Golf Club, where Scottish boys and girls will show off their skills to celebrate the creation of new HSBC Golf Roots projects involving 87 golf clubs in Scotland.
Golf fans of all ages will have the chance every day to win one of eight top-of-the-range Titleist Scotty Cameron putters in a unique putting challenge supported by Titleist, along with Titleist golf balls and caps (last year attracting nearly 4,000 entrants, of which an estimated 70% were children).
The Golf Foundation will be helping to promote the ‘HSBC Family Challenge’, which will be held at golf clubs during The Open. Families are challenged to shoot at easy-to-create targets on their club’s practice areas and record as many successful shots as possible in 60 seconds.Videos of these can be shared by families with HSBC Sport – the best one winning a unique prize from The Open!
The HSBC Golf Roots link will continue when youngsters play in a series of Tri-Golf matches with HSBC Ambassadors. In recent years, Jonathan Davies, Brian O’Driscoll, Tim Henman and Gavin Hastings have all relished competing with the kids.
The R&A Swing Zone will also be the appropriate venue to launch ‘SafeGolf’, the UK partnership working together to promote a safe and positive environment for everyone in the sport (July 18). The Golf Foundation is one of 10 UK partners supporting this long-term commitment. Members of the partnership will lead a short junior golf event to mark this important step for the sport.