Niall Horan visits St Andrews to help launch new golf training academy

The One Direction star launched a new programme encouraging local youngsters to take up the sport.

Niall Horan has swapped the stage for the green after helping launch a new golf training academy at St Andrews.

Teaming up with the R&A, the One Direction star launched the initiative at the World of Golf museum and local youngsters were among the first to take part in Golf.Golf.

The programme aims to change young people’s perception of golf and make it more affordable.

Horan is a self-confessed golf fanatic and runs his own management company in the sport.

Niall was joined by Olivia and Ruaridh at the World of Golf Museum

In the hopes of hitting the right note with this new audience, he wants more people to pick up a club.

He said: “In Scotland and Ireland, golf is such an important thing and it’s a game that I got into very easily when I was young. It was very accessible and you know we want to get rid of some of that view that people have on golf.

“We are going to try and make it as accessible as possible with some of the initiatives we have we are going to try and make it as cheap as possible. Some of our initiatives start at £15.

Mark McDonnell (co-founder Modest! Golf Management), Phil Anderton (chief development officer, the R&A) and Niall Horan (R&A ambassador and co-founder, Modest! Golf Management) pose during the R&A Golf.Golf launch at St Andrews. (Ross Parker: Getty)

“Clubs will be there and available to play with, all sorts of people will be able to do it, in groups, one on ones, it will just be the most accessible version of golf that we have ever seen.”

Ruaridh McCallum, six, from St Andrews joined the star at the World of Golf Museum to show off his putting talents.

He said “I’ve gone to the driving range a few times and I’ve hit a few balls. Last night I even went golf ball hunting with my dad! My favourite golfer is Rory.”

Olivia Farquhar, eight, added: “I’ve got my own clubs and I like to play at the driving range with my dad. I get to whack it, I’m not allowed to play at home though in case I whack it into my neighbours garden.”

Niall Horan hopes the new programme will help change young people’s perception of the sport.

Sessions aimed at children, women only groups and one to one coaching by professionals across the country will be part of the programme.

Phil Anderton, from the R&A said: “It’s the history and the tradition, where the R&A golf started back in the 18th century.

“It’s the place where everyone wants to come and play. It’s the scene of open championships – and to be able to launch here is very fitting.

“But we don’t want it to just stop in St Andrews, we want it to be all over Scotland and then ultimately all around the world.”

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