Justin Rose drives to make golf accessible to all

Justin Rose PA

Justin Rose has outlined his “vision” to get golf on the national curriculum after launching a golf academy which aims to get five million people into the sport for the first time.

The initiative plans to make golf accessible to all, irrespective of age, gender social background or ability.

More than 5,000 free lessons for school children will be given away during the first year and the goal is to bring 18,000 young people onto the Justin Rose junior programme across the first five years.

“We’re looking to reach people that might not be exposed to golf in the most traditional sense and certainly not a country-club sense. That’s the demographics we are going for,” Olympic gold medallist Rose told the PA news agency.

“The Academy can be a little more portable in that you can take coaches into communities that haven’t been exposed to golf at all.

“A fun little concept would be going into a skate park and meeting teens that have never played golf and doing a long-drive competition.

“It’s a form of golf, it’s getting them swinging a club and then the idea is that someone gets curious and wants to take it to the next level, ends up going to the driving range and then your journey in the game of golf has begun.

“We’re trying to introduce people to the game in less scary and intimidating ways.

American Golf CEO Gary Favell with Kate and Justin Rose at the launch of the Justin Rose Academy (Handout image)

“Schools obviously have a huge catchment of kids and the more that we can expose golf to those children with a great team of PGA professionals behind me, the better.

“It’s nice to do it to that scale and it’s our vision to even one day get the government to make it part of the PE curriculum and get golf into schools in simple ways.

“Golf is a sport for life so you’re giving kids a skillset that might be able to serve them for 30, 40, 50 years.

“It’s not just a physical skill that you learn, there’s all the life lessons that you learn that go along with golf which I think are really important, not to mention time away from screens that we’ll soon learn to appreciate and value even more.”

Justin Rose and 12-year-old Ria Prabhakar at the launch of the Justin Rose Academy (Handout image)

Golf is often viewed as a sport for older, largely male players who can afford to join private clubs and pay for expensive equipment, but Rose wants to build on the reported drop in the average age of players and the fact that 400,000 women have taken up golf for the first time since 2020.

The former world number one and his wife Kate launched the Rose Ladies Series in 2020 during golf’s coronavirus shutdown and, after expanding it in 2011, put on five events in April this year to complement the Ladies European Tour schedule.

“The stigma around golf still exists in the game,” Rose added. “Exclusive golf clubs are very much the top of the pyramid and do have their place.

“We’ve done stuff in other areas but this is my first chance to do something for the grass roots and partnering with American Golf they seem to have the right attitude towards that.

“Their partnership with us and the Rose Ladies Series, they’ve really stepped up to the plate and they see a rising tide that they are trying to capitalise on by introducing as many people to the game as possible.”