International bank, and Open patron, HSBC are taking their pilot initiative run across England, Scotland and Wales in 2015 around the world, offering an hour of free golf to children and their families at golf clubs, including the UAE.
As part of HSBC’s ‘Anyone’s Game’ campaign, HSBC Hour sees the bank teaming up with Yas Links in Abu Dhabi and The Els Club in Dubai to give an introduction to the sport during the week of The Open.
Across each day of the championship, that runs July 14-17, a free hour of golf coaching will be available, from 6pm to 7pm at Yas Links and 3pm to 4pm at The Els Club.
“When I was little my Dad used to provide sand from his business to the local driving range so I could practise for free, I taught myself and never looked back,” said Rickie Fowler, world number seven and reigning Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship winner.
“I was also very lucky to have been taught by Barry McDonnell in my early years. Those memories and the friendships you form through golf always stay with you; without those first steps the rest simply can’t happen. Whoever you are and wherever you come from, you need to start somewhere.”
Clarke, European Ryder Cup Captain and fervent ambassador for golf in the UAE and across the MENA region was also keen to jump on board.
“I was lucky to grow up in a family where we all played golf and appreciate what the game gave us in enjoyment, competition and life in general. We have to try to get the young kids out there as they are the sport’s future,” he said.
Rounding off the star trio of golfers backing the campaign, Harrington, a double Open Champion, said: “It’s very important for the future of golf to get kids involved, but it’s also good for them in many ways.
“When young people play the game there are so many things they learn that are useful and prepare them for everyday life. For example, the game is self-governing, requiring the learning of and playing by the rules.
“There are the joys playing the game, there are highs and lows, and there are so many of life’s emotions that you have to learn to deal with, so it’s great for young people to play the game. It’s also essential for golf to have a younger generation participating, bringing new life to the game.”
As well as the UAE, HSBC is expanding the initiative to China, Singapore and Hong Kong.
For a full list of participating golf clubs, visit; www.TheOpen.com/HSBCHour