South African golfing legend Gary Player took time out from his busy schedule to inspire some of the golf stars of tomorrow who were attending the Kids’ Golf Festival at Fairmont St Andrews.
Player interrupted his final preparations for the Champions’ Golfer Challenge – the curtain raiser to the 144th Open Championship – to hold an impromptu lesson with boys taking part in the festival at the luxury accommodation provider at the Home of Golf.
The nine-time Major winner spent time passing on advice and individual tips to the youngsters at the event as well as treating the children, aged between three and seven, to a short demonstration on the Fairmont St Andrews’ driving range.
The event, which was promoted by Golphinforkids, the creator of a range of new lightweight, child-friendly golf clubs manufactured using high-tech materials normally found in the wings of spacecraft and aeroplanes, helped launch a week of activities at the resort during the Open.
Among the lucky children receiving expert tuition were Jack Dirkin, five, from Telford, who is the UK’s number one in his age group and a finalist in the world under-six championship; Rory Kendall, aged three-and-a-half and from Dunfermline; and four-year-old American Internet sensation Tommy Morrissey, who captured the collective heart of the USA when he appeared on Fox News – and subsequently You Tube – demonstrating his golfing prowess.
The founder of Golphinforkids, Calum McPherson, from Lochwinnoch, said: “The day was all about engaging youngsters with the game of golf and who better to do that than Gary Player, one of the all-time legends of the game.
“It was simply magical to see the look on their faces when Gary turned up and he was fantastic with them. Not only did he pass on plenty of advice and tips but he also took time to chat to the kids individually.
“The day at Fairmont St Andrews was all about promoting the fun and family side of kids’ golf and encouraging their interest, and we couldn’t have wished for a better person to help us pass on the message. I’m sure it will be an experience that the children remember forever.”
Amy Yeates, director of golf at Fairmont St Andrews, said: “It was an absolute pleasure to be given the chance to host the event and see one of the game’s all-time greats interrupt his schedule to spend time with youngsters just starting out in golf.
“It was a brilliant way to start such a special week in the golfing calendar for Fairmont St Andrews and the ‘Auld Grey Toon’. Calum has really hit on something with the Golphinforkids lightweight clubs and is a great way of promoting the game to the younger generation, something that we are all very passionate about at the resort.”
The multi-award-winning Fairmont St Andrews sits in a majestic cliff-top location overlooking the North Sea and the historic ‘Auld Grey Toon’.
Voted IAGTO’s European Golf Resort of the Year in 2012 and winner of the award for ‘best large hotel’ in the 2014 Scottish Golf Tourism Awards, the resort boasts two championship golf courses – The Torrance and The Kittocks – and has played host to a number of prestigious events, including both the Open Championship’s final local qualifying and the Scottish Senior Open, which it has hosted for the past six years.
In addition to golf events Fairmont St Andrews has also hosted some of the world’s most important politicians and powerbrokers as a venue for both Northern Ireland peace talks and a G20 Summit.
The resort has also welcomed the likes of Kofi Anan, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – who frequented the hotel bar during their courtship at St Andrews University – and a multitude of celebrities and sports stars.
As well as exceptional golf and a world-class spa, Fairmont St Andrews includes award-winning dining, luxurious guest accommodation and exceptional service, as well as unfettered access to the charms of the old town of St Andrews itself, the unique Home of Golf.