Dame Laura Davies is to be the first female recipient of the Golf Foundation’s prestigious ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award at Royal Troon next Tuesday (12th July).
Every year the Spirit of Golf Award is presented to a champion golfer considered to be truly inspirational to junior golfers, thus helping the Golf Foundation and its partners to grow the game.
Laura Davies now joins an illustrious cast of previous recipients of the award, which includes Gary Player (2007), Tony Jacklin (2008), Lee Westwood (2009), Ian Poulter (2010), Ernie Els (2011), Peter Alliss (2012), Tom Watson (2013), Darren Clarke (2014) and Justin Rose (2015).
The Golf Foundation is the nationally recognised charity that helps young people to enjoy the benefits of golf through its HSBC Golf Roots programme in schools, golf clubs and communities. Encouraging boys and girls to ‘Start, Learn and Stay’ in the game, the Foundation is aiming each year to introduce 500,000 children to golf, to deliver 50,000 through the gates of a golf club and generate 15,000 new regular players.
Laura will be presented with the Spirit of Golf Award at a special ceremony in Royal Troon’s Spectator Village on Tuesday, where she will play a lively Tri-Golf Challenge against Golf Foundation boys and girls in The R&A SwingZone and also answer their questions about the sport of golf and what it takes to be a champion golfer. This should be an entertaining public golf event for watching families who are visiting The Open.
The Golf Foundation is present for the whole of Open week as guests of The R&A, to inspire youngsters to take up the game working alongside ClubGolf and the PGA. More than 3,000 youngsters are expected to play Tri-Golf, StreetGolf, putting challenges and other activities under the supervision of the Golf Foundation team.
Laura Davies has won 79 tournaments worldwide including four Majors and has topped the Ladies European Tour Order of Merit a record seven times. She has also represented Europe 12 times now in the Solheim Cup. Widely considered as the best player Britain has ever produced in women’s golf, certainly in the modern era, Laura continues to compete in professional golf events all around the world.
Laura was made a Dame by the Queen in 2014 for her services to golf, and was inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame in 2015. Last year, she set up the Laura Davies Foundation with the objective of raising money for causes in the UK and worldwide that are close to her heart.
Brendon Pyle, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “Laura’s amazing record in professional golf speaks for itself and she deserves this recognition from the Golf Foundation particularly for the fact that she has inspired so many young players either to take up the game or to take their golf to the next level.
“The spirit in which Laura has always played the sport, her highly competitive edge coupled with her love of great sportsmanship, exemplify what we as a charity are aiming to encourage in young players through what we call ‘Skills for Life’. In 2016 the Golf Foundation is trying harder then ever to encourage greater numbers of girls into golf and we are honoured that Laura is helping us to raise the profile of girls’ golf by accepting this award.”