Louis Oosthuizen, the 2010 Open Champion, knows the value of supporting young people to help them get into golf and develop as people.
That is why he assists youngsters through a golf academy in his home area of Mossel Bay, South Africa, and why, straight after battling through the second round of The Open Championship on Friday, he made good a promise to the Golf Foundation team to play Tri-Golf with HSBC Golf Roots youngsters at The R&A Swingzone in the tented village at Royal St George’s.
Louis played Tri-Golf games with the boys and girls on the day before The Open Championship last year in St Andrews and went on to lift the Claret Jug. Here, he returned to reprise his quick-fire golf shootout with visiting children; helping the Golf Foundation to profile the HSBC Golf Roots programme that aims to reach one million youngsters a year through golf by 2013. HSBC Golf Roots is growing the game in schools and linking more schools to clubs.
The South African then patiently answered questions posed by pupils from Borough Green Primary School in Sevenoaks, Kent, revealing that he was going to practise hard to try to win the Championship on Sunday.
Louis said: “Tri-Golf is an excellent game to get the kids running around and hitting shots at targets. It’s great fun and children need encouragement. I was delighted to help the Golf Foundation today. My own academy is going well in South Africa and I am enjoying helping young players to improve.”
Louis Oosthuizen started ‘Academy 57’ for juniors at Mossel Bay Golf Club a few years ago, providing a dynamic centre for young golfers in the Southern Cape area.
Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “A number of Tour players have supported us over the years at The Open but Louis is the first to give up his precious time in the middle of the competition itself. To finish his round and all his media duties and then ensure he had a game of Tri-Golf with the youngsters shows something about him as a person and as a champion.”
Mike added: “This week has been excellent for promoting our HSBC Golf Roots initiative and I’d like to give particular thanks to our President Colin Montgomerie, HSBC, The R&A, and now Louis, for showing that golf for youngsters is all about fun and developing life skills.”
Throughout Open week the Golf Foundation has been sharing The R&A Swingzone with the PGA, who have been giving free lessons to juniors and adults as part of the organisation’s commitment to growing the game.