Dame Laura Davies became the first female recipient of the Golf Foundation’s prestigious ‘Spirit of Golf’ Award, which was presented to her ahead of The 145th Open at Royal Troon this week.
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. The Golf Foundation is guest of The R&A at this week’s Championship.
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).
Four-time Major Championship winner Dame Laura Davies said: “I took up golf as a youngster because my brother played and soon loved the game. Golf is great for making friends and for challenging yourself to improve. It is a fantastic game for girls so it’s good to see many of them here today, and we can all help to inspire more girls to enjoy golf in the future.
“I’d like to thank the Golf Foundation for this wonderful award and wish them well in encouraging many more youngsters into the game.”
During the ceremony in the Spectator Village, Laura played and narrowly won a quick-fire Tri-Golf Challenge against boys and girls in The R&A SwingZone. She then answered questions from the youngsters and revealed that she had her brother to thank for her starting in golf, that if not a golfer she would have worked somewhere in sport, which she loves, and that her proudest moment was winning the Solheim Cup for the first time at Dalmahoy in 1992.
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 youngsters through the gates of a golf club and generate 15,000 new regular players.
Stephen Lewis, Chairman of the Golf Foundation, presented the award and said: “Laura is the UK’s greatest ever female player and she was of course World Number One, but this award is actually for the wonderful, competitive spirit she exhibited when playing the game. Her sportsmanship and sense of fun, the way she has supported younger players and inspired so many youngsters into the sport is hugely impressive, and resonates with the aims of the Golf Foundation as a charity for young people.
“In 2016 the Foundation is trying harder then ever to reach greater numbers of girls through golf and we are honoured that Laura is helping us to raise the profile of girls’ golf by accepting this award.”
The Golf Foundation is present for the whole week of The Open 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.
The elegant silver and glass Spirit of Golf Award trophy was specially crafted for the Golf Foundation, provided by Derrick Burridge, of Burridge, London.