Luke Donald celebrates golf’s positive values with Golf Foundation at The Open

European Ryder Cup Captain Luke Donald led another team of excited golfers – this time a little younger and smaller – when he supported national charity the Golf Foundation during The Open at Royal Liverpool this week.

Remembering his younger days taking up golf as a seven-year-old, Luke was only too happy to meet children who were being introduced to golf for the first time by the Golf Foundation. The national charity has been present all week in the Swingzone as guests of The R&A in The Open’s Spectator Village right beside the 14th fairway, as part of a thrilling atmosphere at the historic championship.

The Golf Foundation has welcomed 40 school and community groups to their stand to play energetic and fun Golfway games, learn the basics of golf, including how to keep calm and focused in the challenge, staying positive and respecting your opponents.

Luke Donald, the former World Number 1 golfer and seven-time winner on the DP World Tour, will no doubt be sharing similar thoughts with his European Ryder Cup team colleagues, and he was certainly in tune with the Golf Foundation’s belief that such life skills can be of huge benefit to young people as they develop.

Luke said: “I think golf teaches great lessons to young people, including patience, perseverance, honesty and integrity, and it’s great for the children to experience a little of this, and be around it through golf.”

The Ryder Cup Captain was soon running back and forth with a group of visiting youngsters, playing ‘Drive for Show…’ and ‘Finders Keepers’. The Foundation’s large engagement with schools in the region is part of ‘The Road to The Open’ collaborative programme with England Golf and supported by The R&A, to provide opportunities for children and young people and be inspired to play golf.

Luke Donald added: “It’s fantastic to see the kids having such a good time here, it’s really important to get exposed to the game in a fun way like this. I took up the game when I was about seven years old, on a very short course, and so I can see the value in these fun, inclusive sessions. Having learned some new skills the children will have great memories leaving the course today.”

“It was great to be able to demonstrate our work to Luke,” said Golf Foundation CEO Brendon Pyle. “All week we have been welcoming hundreds of youngsters and families to try golf, right beside the course at Royal Liverpool, a fantastic opportunity courtesy of The R&A. The 40 or so schools we have introduced to golf in this region are just a part of our quickly growing and highly inclusive national programme for schools, supported superbly by our charity’s President Nick Dougherty.

“We are proud to show that golf can be for everyone, and that it offers tremendous mental benefits for young people that can be used in many other areas of life, promoting confidence and wellbeing, something which Luke clearly identifies with. Everyone at the Golf Foundation wishes Luke and the team the very best of luck for September.”

Luke Donald’s visit was one highlight in a packed week of junior golf activity at the Swingzone, where the Golf Foundation has been working alongside The PGA, England Golf and EDGA (which introduces the game to people with a disability), all supported by The R&A.

On Friday, the Foundation welcomed R&A Diversity Ambassador Zane Scotland, who became the youngest ever person to qualify for The Open, aged 16 in 1999. Zane supported The Road to The Open project which focused on accessibility to the game, including reaching children from five special educational needs schools, providing training to staff and access to its highly adaptive Golfway equipment for future use. All 40 groups involved have enjoyed similar staff training and access to Golfway.

Next articleLeading British Talent Lend Support to Greenspace
As an avid golfer since the age of eleven Dan lives and breathes all things golf.  With a current handicap of eleven he gets out and plays as often as his work life (and girlfriend) allows. Dan confesses to still being like a kid at Christmas when it comes to seeing the latest golf equipment. Having served as GolfPunk’s Deputy Editor, and resident golf geek for the past 13 years and working for golf's oldest brand, John Letters Dan brings to GOLF RETAILING an excellent understanding of the sector.