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Player coaches junior players

Gary Player took time out from his busy schedule to inspire some of the golf stars of tomorrow who were attending the Kids’ Golf Festival at Fairmont St Andrews. Player interrupted his final preparations for the Champions’ Golfer Challenge, the curtain raiser to the 144th Open Championship, to hold an impromptu lesson with boys taking part in the festival.

The nine-time major winner spent time passing on advice and individual tips to the youngsters at the event as well as treating the children, aged between three and seven, to a short demonstration on the Fairmont St Andrews’ driving range. The event helped launch a week of activities at the resort during the Open and was promoted by Golphinforkids, the creator of a range of new lightweight, child-friendly golf clubs manufactured using high-tech materials.

Among the lucky children receiving expert tuition were Jack Dirkin, five, from Telford, who is the UK’s number one in his age group and a finalist in the world under-six championship; Rory Kendall, aged three-and-a-half and from Dunfermline; and four-year-old American Internet sensation Tommy Morrissey, who captured the collective heart of the United States when he appeared on Fox News – and subsequently You Tube – demonstrating his golfing prowess.

The founder of Golphinforkids, Calum McPherson, from Lochwinnoch, said: “The day was all about engaging youngsters with the game of golf and who better to do that than Gary Player, one of the all-time legends of the game. It was simply magical to see the look on their faces when Gary turned up and he was fantastic with them. Not only did he pass on plenty of advice and tips but he also took time to chat to the kids individually.”