Ladies European Tour members are inspiring children and families to take up golf at the Deloitte Ladies Open.
The players are involved in a number of activities organised by the Netherlands Golf Federation (NGF) and PGA Holland.
The activities include ‘have a go’ sessions for beginners, meet the pro discussions, trick shot competitions connecting juniors with the professionals through to swing analysis and comparison with the top Dutch competitors.
Organisers anticipate that 500 free golf lessons will be given during the event and participants are being encouraged to follow the federation’s 9-step programme and connect with the local PGA pro to take their hobby further.
Giving support to local development projects and linking with national federation’s programmes is a key objective of the Ladies European Tour, whose ambition is to be more than just a golf tour by developing the game and leaving a lasting legacy in the countries where professional tournaments are played.
This vision is perfectly aligned with the objective of the NGF and PGA Holland, who are committed to working together to grow the game and get more families involved.
Patty Smit, Account Manager Sport NGF, is passionate about this subject. She says: “It’s all about fun: you have to inspire the kids and that’s very important, and we have had a lot of fun!”
PGA Holland Golf Professional Wiebe Giesen agrees: “I think a lot of golf players are playing golf alone and we want to show that you can have a lot of fun if you play together: team events, to score together. They have to help each other by making a good team score and coaching each other. I think that’s very important for the social aspect of the sport.”
One of the major initiatives at the Deloitte Ladies Open is the GirlzGolf programme, where 50 girls attended on Saturday to meet their ambassador Dewi Claire Schreefel in the Golf Academie area and to watch and learn from the professionals on the Ladies European Tour.
Sunday offers a full programme for families, with more than 100 people signed up to participate in golf and non-golf games throughout the afternoon on the driving range.
Smit, who is running the programme, explained: “We have a fun factory, a trick show by one of our professionals, who’s not just going to do a selfish trick show, he’s getting all the children involved and teaching them some tricks. We have a small six-hole course for families where they can win a lot of prizes. Also for children that don’t like golf, the youngsters, we have other games like soccer, table tennis, a lot of creative activities so it must be a fun, quality time with the family.”
Giesen added: “We are telling all the families that with golf, you can have quality time together and play your sport.”
The social element is a key focus and the organisations are encouraging people to view golf as a team sport, with the NGF launching a junior league later this summer. There is already an NGF Youth programme, with 200 teams of four juniors competing across the Netherlands.
“We are trying to convince people that we have the most beautiful sport and we have passion for golf,” says Smit. “We cooperate well together and that’s great because it only works well when the professionals and the owners of the golf clubs and the club members work together. If not, it won’t be a success.”
The activities being held at the Golf Academie are open to everyone and families are particularly encouraged to attend on Sunday, when the driving range will turn into a mini sports festival as world class golf is played on The International course.