As The 150th Open Championship started in St Andrews this week, one group of young Scottish golfers got a treat on their trip to the famous course.
Eight youngsters from Monifieth Golf Club visited the Old Course on Monday morning as guests of HSBC and the Golf Foundation to celebrate the work that they do as part of the HSBC Golf Roots initiative.
Upon arrival, they went to the Sky Zone and were treated to meeting Ryder Cup star Tommy Fleetwood and Sky Sports presenter Henni Goya. The Englishman spent an hour with the group as he answered their questions and gave some feedback on their swings, before playing a few fun games with them in the HSBC Golf Zone.
Fleetwood is an ambassador for England Golf and he runs his own academy to help introduce golf to more young people. The Englishman was full of praise for the enthusiasm and golf skills that were on display.
"They were brilliant. Their coach has clearly done a great job! It’s so great to see youngsters at these events with big smiles on their faces and just playing the game, in whatever way they want to," said Fleetwood.
"I’m a huge believer in bringing the game to life for youngsters – golf has obviously done so much for me, and I’ve got kids of my own who are already enjoying their golf. These big events are so important for us to be able to talk to new audiences, so I’ve loved spending time with the youngsters today. What better way to start my week at The Open!”
HSBC Golf Roots is a Golf Foundation initiative which was first introduced in 2011. Since then, they have worked to open up opportunities for children in golf. The grassroots junior development initiative promotes the sport in schools, communities and golf clubs across the country.
The initiative has introduced over five million youngsters to the sport, given 500,000 pupils a taster session from a PGA professional in their own school and enabled 250,000 children to visit a golf club.
Throughout all this work, the fantastic support of the R&A and all the home nations has helped to make the programme such a success.