Bri­tish Open will see Lancs golf thriv­ing

Ormskirk Advertiser - - Sport -

GOLF clubs across Lan­cashire are us­ing this week’s Open Cham­pi­onship as a springboard to grow­ing the sport.

The world’s best golfers will be head­ing to Royal Birk­dale in South­port from July 16-23 with the dream of be­com­ing the lat­est player to lift the cov­eted Claret Jug.

The event at­tracts world­wide at­ten­tion, and now clubs in the re­gion are hop­ing to raise aware­ness of lo­cal op­por­tu­ni­ties to give golf a go.

A Road to The Open cam­paign has been or­gan­ised by Eng­land Golf, the Pro­fes­sional Golfers As­so­ci­a­tion and the Golf Foun­da­tion with a range of ac­tiv­i­ties to pro­mote golf in schools, the lo­cal com­mu­nity and clubs.

It is be­ing sup­ported by the Lan­cashire Union of Golf Clubs and the Lan­cashire County Ladies Golf As­so­ci­a­tion.

Ain­tree Grand Na­tional Golf Club set the tone for the project with a spe­cial fam­ily com­mu­nity open day.

As well as the more tra­di­tional free golf taster ses­sions, putting chal­lenges and the chance to use the driv­ing range, sup­ported by US Kids Golf, fam­i­lies could en­joy bouncy cas­tles, craft and food stalls with lo­cal busi­nesses as well as live mu­sic.

A fur­ther com­mu­nity event took place at Speke Hall in Liver­pool.

Six­teen clubs around the Red Rose county are host­ing spe­cial events while the Road to the Open project has con­nected with 10 pri­mary schools and four secondary schools in the South­port area.

Each school now has a link to a lo­cal golf club, equip­ment has been pro­vided and teach­ers trained along­side Young Lead­ers so they can de­liver golf in PE classes or at schools sports events.

The Golf Foun­da­tion’s, Andy Leigh said: “We’re al­ready hear­ing great things from the teach­ers as they have started in­tro­duc­ing their young­sters to golf and this should only in­ten­sify when ‘Open fever’ starts soon.

“Many of the schools in the area are ar­rang­ing trips to The Open to watch the best golfers in the world.

“Dur­ing the visit, the school groups will spend time with the Golf Foun­da­tion de­vel­op­ment team in the ‘R&A Swing Zone’ play­ing fun Tri-Golf and StreetGolf chal­lenges.

“Don’t for­get! It’s free ad­mis­sion for un­der 16’s at The Open, when ac­com­pa­nied by an adult.”

As part of the build-up to the Open, the fi­nal of the Na­tional Street Golf com­pe­ti­tion will take place at Formby Hall Golf Re­sort on Mon­day, July 17.

A spe­cial brochure has been pro­duced high­light­ing the Get into golf work go­ing on at the 16 clubs – Ac­cring­ton and Dis­trict, Ain­tree Grand Na­tional, Black­ley, Burn­ley, Fleet­wood, Formby Hall Golf Re­sort and Spa, Hay­dock Park, Lan­caster, Lee Park, Lon­gridge, My­er­scough, Myt­ton Fold, Old­ham, Rossendale, South­port Old Links, and Stand.

Sta­tis­tics show that sports en­joy a twoweek spike in in­ter­est fol­low­ing a ma­jor event and Lan­cashire Golf De­vel­op­ment Group county of­fi­cers Adam McAlis­ter and Deb­bie Barber will be work­ing with clubs to help cap­i­talise on this po­ten­tial surge in par­tic­i­pa­tion.

Eng­land Golf Re­gional Man­ager, Ja­son Budd says: “The Open is a great shop win­dow for golf and a chance for the sport to kick foot­ball off the back pages of the na­tional news­pa­pers.

“It is golf’s Olympic mo­ment and we want to make sure that those peo­ple who are in­ter­ested in try­ing golf or re­turn­ing to it as a re­sult of watch­ing or read­ing about The Open can find the right op­por­tu­nity to suit them at a lo­cal club.”

Road to the Open or­gan­is­ers have launched a new Twit­ter han­dle, #road­totheopen2017, which they are en­cour­ag­ing clubs to adopt on so­cial me­dia.

Get into golf is a na­tional cam­paign to in­spire adults to take up the game and is run by the Eng­land Golf Part­ner­ship through its net­work of County Golf De­vel­op­ment Groups, sup­ported by Sport Eng­land and Na­tional Lot­tery fund­ing.

Get into golf op­por­tu­ni­ties in­clude FREE taster ses­sions and low-cost be­gin­ner cour­ses with PGA pro­fes­sion­als.

They are a fun and so­cia­ble way to start golf – and a great way to make new friends.

To find your near­est cen­tre visit get­into­golf.org and look at the ac­tiv­ity map or call 0800 118 2766. For de­tails go to twit­ter.com/get­into­golf or on Face­book at face­book.com/Get­into­golf

Sir Nick Faldo signs au­to­graphs dur­ing a prac­tice round prior to the 146th Open Cham­pi­onship at Royal Birk­dale Chris­tian Petersen

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