Each year, The R&A invests more than £5 million in support of golf worldwide. This includes grassroots initiatives, coaching, public facilities, equipment profession, professional golf, amateur events and student golf.
In recent years, through the Working for Golf programme, there has been a focus on financing development in countries where golf is a relatively new sport. Grassroots initiatives have been supported in countries across five continents.
The R&A also supports golf heavily in Great Britain and Ireland through the Golf Foundation, junior programmes at Open venues and events for players with disabilities.
Several Open Champions enjoy R&A support of initiatives bearing their name, including the Paul Lawrie Foundation, based in North East Scotland, the Ernie Els and Louis Oosthuizen foundations in South Africa, the Darren Clarke Foundation in Ireland, the Faldo Series and the Palmer Cup.
The R&A also supports men’s and women’s student golf. The Foundation Scholarship programme, which helps talented young golfers fund their competitive golf while completing their academic studies, has proved to be a success, with three scholars playing in the 2015 Great Britain and Ireland Walker Cup team, which faced the USA at Royal Lytham & St Annes – Jack McDonald, Gary Hurley and Cormac Sharvin.
Support is also given to many amateur and professional championships around the world as well as to the European Tour, Challenge Tour, Ladies European Tour and its feeder Tour, the LET Access Series.
Equipment provision includes the delivery of more than 30 pieces of greenkeeping machinery to courses with the greatest need each year. Furthermore, The R&A’s Golf Course Management department gives best practice advice on everything from grass species selection and environmental sustainability to social responsibility and economic viability; information relevant to anyone who works on or uses a golf course.
The R&A enjoys the support of three Working for Golf Ambassadors - Padraig Harrington, The Champion Golfer of the Year in 2007 and 2008, Suzann Pettersen, a two-time major champion, and Liang Wen-Chong, who in 2008 became the first Chinese player to complete all four rounds in The Open. Their collective role is to help promote the Working for Golf programme as they compete around the world.
The overall aim of The R&A’s Working for Golf programme is to support golf wherever it is played and to encourage its growth in countries where it is in its infancy. In so doing, The R&A, working through its affiliates, promotes golf as being a sport for life which can be played and enjoyed by people of all ages, backgrounds and levels of ability.