This cosmopolitan selection of Open competitors – Germany’s Martin Kaymer, Portugal’s Jose-Filipe Lima, England’s Ross Fisher, Spain’s Pablo Larrazabal, and Australia’s Scott Strange – were all only too happy to encourage young golfers when they made individual visits to the Golf Foundation Tri-Golf area at the R&A Junior Golf Centre in Birkdale’s tented village.

The Foundation, the officially recognised UK charity that is seeking to make golf more accessible to children from all backgrounds and abilities, welcomed youngsters throughout the whole of Open week to learn a little more about the game. This work has been made possible with the continual support of The R&A.

Mike Round, Chief Executive of the Golf Foundation, said: “I don’t think we should underestimate the impact that these talented young Tour players made when meeting the youngsters at Birkdale this week. The children were thrilled to play Tri-Golf with, and against, the star professionals who would be competing in the main event.

“Positive support from role models like this is certainly a great boost for us in our bid to bring more young golfers into the game. We are hugely appreciative of the players for taking the trouble to visit us.”

The player visits were all courtesy of premium golf brand Titleist. The five European Tour golfers all exhibited a great attitude when interacting with the youngsters. Scott Strange took part in a rapid-fire Tri-Golf target challenge against nine-year-old boys and girls from Southport and the counted scores were tied, while two-time European winner Martin Kaymer had to recover from a tricky start to beat his young challengers during a chipping test.

Special needs youngsters from the North Stoke school partnership had a great time with European Open winner Ross Fisher, who gave youngsters a lesson in how to hit Tri-Golf shots. He said: “I really enjoyed playing Tri-Golf today with the children and wish the Golf Foundation all the best for the whole week.”

The Golf Foundation team was welcoming school groups and families to the centre in support of the England Golf Partnership, which is growing the game in England.

Mike Round added: “The Open is the best possible advertisement for the game for a new generation of youngsters and our challenge will be to take this heightened awareness and build on the recent momentum that our initiatives have enjoyed at schools, golf clubs and driving ranges.”

To learn more about the Golf Foundation, call 01992 449830 or see www.golf-foundation.org