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Wednesday, April 01, 2009


Ranfurly Castle were crowned the winners of the Junior Club of the Year Award announced at last Friday’s Scottish Golf Dinner in Glasgow after a tight title race with five other short listed clubs.

Launched last year the award is designed to reward clubs for their efforts in promoting junior golf and encouraging more juniors into the game. Alford Golf Club claimed the inaugural title setting a high benchmark for this year’s hopefuls.

Ranfurly Castle proved they were the cream of the crop from a starting field of 29 clubs from across Scotland, finally whittled down to a short list of six clubs. Representatives from Powfoot, Duns, Kirkintilloch, Palacerigg and Stranraer golf clubs were among the audience as the announcement was made at the dinner - held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel - and as runners-up received £300 to help continue their fantastic work developing their junior golf programmes.

The Renfrewshire club was rewarded with a cheque for £1,000 from the Scottish Golf Union and clubgolf, the national junior golf programme, to be invested in their junior programme. The winner’s prize also includes two spots in a European Tour pro-am, playing alongside a leading professional golfer.

The club’s pro-active approach was highlighted through their efforts to increase accessibility for juniors coming into the game. A £25,000 Lottery grant was invested in improvements to their 9 hole Clevans course, and as part of the project the club made that facility available to the local community, earning accolades from Renfrewshire District Council and local MSPs and MPs.

Renfrewshire remains the only authority in Scotland that is not rolling out the introductory game “firstclubgolf” in schools, however Ranfurly Castle has embraced the clubgolf programme by putting no fewer than 11 volunteers through the Stage 1 coaching course. That has allowed the club to open up golf coaching to non-members, and positions them well to link to local primary schools should they join up with the national junior golf programme in the future.

For existing junior club members it was recognised that there were insufficient competitions and, as part of an overall strategy of integrating them in the club to give juniors a greater sense of belonging, those with single figure handicaps were allowed to play in the vast majority of senior men’s competitions.

The reward for encouraging that increased competitiveness came when, after a 14 year absence, the club beat the previous year’s winners Greenock in the final of The Junior Newton Shield, the area team championship for the Renfrewshire Golf Union. Of a total of 31 junior boys selected for the Renfrewshire Golf Union coaching squads, six are from Ranfurly Castle, while it also provided five of the nine Renfrewshire junior golfers selected for the SGU Coaching Academy.

clubgolf Project Manager Torquil McInroy said, “Ranfurly Golf Club demonstrated real drive, as well as their ability and desire to promote golf to youngsters in their community.

“They are a great example to other clubs and this award is recognition of the hard work carried out by their volunteers. In establishing the infrastructure which will underpin their continued success in the years ahead, they worked as a team to show what can be achieved.”

McInroy who was on the judging panel added, “The response to the awards in its second year was again very encouraging and I would like to thank all of those who entered this year. Those who were short listed demonstrated just a sample of some of the great work which is being undertaken by clubs across the country. That work is vital for the health and future of the game and long may it continue.”

Ranfurly Castle’s Junior Convenor Michael McCabe and Club Captain Douglas Martin, who received the cheque for £1,000 to contribute to their junior programmes said after the presentation, “We are absolutely delighted to win this award which is great recognition of our activity here and will enable us to continue to deliver great coaching and improved facilities and boost participation numbers among juniors in the game.”

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