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Monday, May 12, 2008

Colin Montgomerie enjoying himself with the juniors at Hawick Golf Club (image by Rob Eyton-Jones).
Monty clinic inspires Hawick children

clubgolf media manager
Hawick children who are being coached at Hawick Golf Club on the national junior golf programme, clubgolf, launched by Colin Montgomerie at Gleneagles in 2003, were given a day to remember after being invited for an hour’s coaching from the Ryder Cup player on Friday.
Monty was in Hawick for the day visiting sponsor, Peter Scott, and as soon as his tour of the factory was over he headed to the Club to give a clinic, answer questions and sign autographs.
“I can see that clubgolf is working here at Hawick because of the amount of kids here that have come here today,” he said. “It’s fantastic to see this level of enthusiasm.”
clubgolf, a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association, Professional Golfers’ Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland, developed as a lasting legacy to host the Ryder Cup, was launched in the Borders last April.
Hawick was one of the first clubs to support the programme. Its junior convenor, David Wilson and fellow club member, Dougie Crawford, became its first fully qualified PGA Level 1 Volunteer coaches. In addition to teaching at the Club, both support Active Schools Co-ordinator, Karen Cornwall, by delivering the programme’s introductory game, firstclubgolf, in local primary schools,
Over 200 children from Burnfoot, Drumlanrig, Hobkirk, Newcastleton, Stirches and Wilton Primary Schools had firstclubgolf coaching in 2007. With every Hawick primary school on board this year the numbers of children wishing to further their skills on the club’s Stage 1 course is set to rise.
“It’s fabulous to get this incentive going because it’s not always easy and the coaches are working seamlessly here to make it a success,” said Mr Montgomerie.
“What we are after is providing the opportunity for every child to play the game. I was very fortunate to be part of a golfing family and having been given the opportunity I found I could play the game.
“There are thousands of youngsters out there with ability who will find out about their fantastic talent if they’re given the chance to play.”
After the clinic, the children needed little encouragement to practise all they had learnt. “It was class,” said 11 year old Greig Middlemass, who plays golf at least four times a week. “I learnt how to relax my hands to make it nice and easy for my swing. I’m going to practise that this afternoon. After today I just want to keep practising and improve.”
With hundreds of Hawick children learning golf at school this year, the Club’s junior programme is expanding this summer. Two more club members, Stuart Hunter & Graeme Tinlin, have been trained on the PGA level 1 course. David Wilson and Dougie Crawford have earned an Advanced Level 1 qualification. Local Pro, Keith Morgan is supporting by delivering Stage 3 of the programme.
“We are quite a young junior section with the bulk of the children being 15 or under,” said Mr Wilson. “The primary school sessions have led to a lot of new members and coaching is available to all our members, new & old.
“Our junior section continues to flourish and I have already seen a huge improvement in a number of our younger guys and their handicaps are tumbling.”