Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Primary schoolchildren plant marram grass at Trump International

Local youngsters from Balmedie Primary School will take part in planting marram grass, as part of the first phase of construction of Trump International’s championship course, at Menie Estate tomorrow (Thursday).
Working in partnership with Trump International’s project team, a number of site visits and workshops focused on the environment and north-east coastline will be developed with Balmedie School.
In support of Aberdeenshire Council’s new curriculum framework for young people aged 3 to 18, the activities will provide local pupils with environmental experiences that encourage learning about their natural surroundings.
Following the tradition of hand-sprigging marram grass - a process that has been used by local people for generations - Balmedie school children will gain practical experience of this time-proven technique as they learn about their environment and local heritage.
Allison Conner, deputy head teacher, Balmedie Primary School said: “The children are being taught to hand sprig the grass which is an age old tradition that crofters used to employ in days gone by.
"Pupils are being given the opportunity to better understand their heritage and at the same time engage in outdoor learning. We have a rich learning environment on our doorstep, and we will continue to use our local outdoor environment to develop and enhance the learning opportunities we provide our pupils."
Sarah Malone, executive vice president of Trump International commented: “Given that this development will one day provide employment and recreational opportunities for the next generation, this type of activity will help create a greater sense of ownership and interest amongst the young. We look forward to working with Balmedie School on a range of activities throughout the development of the project.”
Local resident and former chairman of Keep Grampian Beautiful, Paul Miller, who has a life-time of experience of caring for Aberdeenshire’s coastline and marram grass planting, will also share his knowledge and experience with the school children.
In response to the partnership with Balmedie School and Trump International, Mr Miller said “The preservation of the region’s sand dunes has been my passion for over 40 years and I’m delighted to see the younger generation gaining hands-on experience and learning about the natural environment.”


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Teamwork has made a big difference for

Louise Kenney - and there's more to come

From Spencer Henderson
National Junior Coach

Thanks for the good article on Louise Kenney (scroll down to read it). She was very complimentary and I am delighted for her this year.
Thought I could maybe add my thoughts for the readers of if you think it is something that may interest them.
I am fortunate enough to work with some very promising girls/ladies such as Louise, Kelsey Macdonald, Rachael Watton and Rebecca Wilson. The close working relationship between the SGU and SLGA means that I can use some of my time to help develop the girls.
They all have a great team supporting them through the SLGA and Institute network who compliment all the work that I do with them.
Although Louise has thanked me for her improvements I believe that it is a professional team around her that has helped her achieve the great results this year. I like to work on the adage that it is easier to improve 10 things 1% than one thing 10%.
Below is the journey Louise has taken over the past two years to make her one of the most consistent performers in Britain this year.
Louise has always been a good player and we decided together to improve her technique to help her gain more length and add some variety to her short game. It has been a two-year process to implement the changes in both long and short game and she has worked extremely hard both on and off the golf course.
She was biomechanically tested, where she had sensors attached to different parts of her body so we could have some objective feedback during her swing. The results were that her power output was quite low, resulting in a loss of distance even on her good strikes.
It may sound quite scientific, however the way things were explained to us both made it very simple as we wanted her body to move as efficiently as possible during the swing, delivering maximum power at impact.
Through the SLGA she has been supported by the Institute from January this year which has undoubtedly helped her to make some of the changes we have implemented.
Karen Young- Lead physiotherapist for golf in the Institute and I looked at Louise's swing together and she identified some tightness and flexibility issues which could affect her ability to make the swing changes.
She initially received remedial physiotherapy for six weeks before commencing a strength and conditioning programme three times a week during the winter. The programme was put in place to increase overall strength but also flexibility which in turn translates to more power in her golf swing.
The strength training is not for the faint-hearted as it is rigorous. However her gains have made it all worthwhile. Louise also does three cardio sessions a week to help her stamina as she can play up to eight rounds in a tournament week.
Once we felt that her swing was taking shape, she had her clubs fitted to her personal specification by Ed Robertson and his team at Applied Golf Technology. This can help not only physically but also mentally knowing that she has the best possible clubs for her swing. She has been in a couple of times further during the season for further check-ups.
At the end of every round she enters her statistics into “Golfdatalab” which allows us to identify any strengths and areas to improve for the next tournament.
Graeme Leslie (developer) has been brilliant and is always available whenever I have questions about her performances.
To assist her swing technique we use swing analysis on my laptop as Louise is a very visual learner and likes to see the improvement that she is making. We also do a lot of feel work during a tournament week so she is focusing mainly on her process. Her practice has become very productive and I encourage her to be very creative around the greens (like my hero Seve), using different clubs for a variety of shots.
As you can see there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes and everyone in the team around her deserves praise for the professional attitude they adopt.
I believe that ultimately it is the desire, commitment, preparation, dedication and attention to detail that dictates who will be successful in making the transition from good amateur to successful professional.
I believe Louise has the potential to play at an even higher level if she keeps improving the 1%’s.
Spencer Henderson
National Junior Coach
DDI: 01334 466486


Monday, August 24, 2009

Carol O'Neill continues the trend

as Murcar Links' new secretary
Murcar Links Golf Club has appointed Carol O'Neill to be its new secretary. Carol, who had been close on 15 years as assistant secretary at Newmachar Golf Club, took up her new duties today.
"Carol is well known in North-east golfing circles and brings a wealth of experience in golf administration to the club," said Murcar Links captain Hugh Stuart.
"Murcar Links is celebrating its Centenary this year and has capacity membership with a waiting list.The club hosted the European girls' team championship in 2008 and the Scottish men's open amateur stroke-plsy championship in May this year. They may be a further announcement soon regarding the hosting of another big event.
"With our excellent clubhouse, course and practice facilities, we can think of no better time for Carol to be joining us - at the start of our next 100 years."
Carol, renowned for her multi-tasking at Newmachar Golf Club, succeeds Joanne Mitchell who is getting married soon.
Ironically, Carol, who lives in Dyce, has just bought a new house in NEWMACHAR ... "but it's not far to Murcar Links across country from Newmachar" she says.
Carol O'Neill's appointment continues if not a ladies-only, certainly a ladies-favoured trend in North-east golfing circles over the past 10 to 15 years - perhaps with the advent of computerised administration and the need for specialised knowledge and training - for clubs to appoint female secretaries/club managers.
Debbie Pern, Deeside Golf Club's secretary-manager for the past five years, has a different explanation, with tongue in cheek: "I don't think members shout so much at lady secretaries as they do at men doing the job!"
Banchory Golf Club recently appointed Ann Smart to succeed the retiring Bill Crighton as its secretary and Stonehaven's Willie Donald, when he came up to retirement age earlier this year, was replaced by Morag Duncan as club manager.
Two of the longest serving permanent club staff officials in the North-east are Sandra Webster who has been secretary at Royal Aberdeen Golf Club for 20 years and Rosemary Pittendrigh who is retiring at the end of the year after 15 years as secretary/manager at Cruden Bay Golf Club. .
Others in the area include Eva Beech-Campbell at Oldmeldrum, Yvonne Forgen at Elgin and Marion Ferries at Aboyne.
Are there as many lady secretaries/club managers of golf clubs in your area?
E-mail if you can name names.


Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Secret to Golf Success

Check out a website called
It is aimed at introducing club golfers to the golf psychology techniques used by the top PGA professionals. The website provides a free report on “The Biggest Mental Error in Golf…And How to Avoid It” as well as monthly E-Bulletins covering mental golf tips and a newly added golf tips Blog at

The website also offers an E-Book and some of the interesting topics covered in the book include:-
  • The one philosophy that all great champions have in common.
  • How to avoid the common mistake that cost Monty the US Open Championship.
  • The crucial importance of “the 40 second sanctuary” and how it has made Tiger Woods mentally “bullet proof".
  • How Ernie Els overcame “the little guy on his shoulder” to win the 2002 British Open.
  • The crucial difference between the golf practice range and the first tee.
  • The common mental mistake that almost lost Fred Couples the 1992 Masters
  • Why you should never “avoid” trouble.
  • How most golfers make an enemy of their memory.
  • How to stop wasting your golf practice time.
  • How to use the amazing story of the 4 minute mile to improve golf performance.
  • The ideal golf match play mindset.
  • The mental tool that has helped Padraig Harrington to make his major breakthrough.
The website owners have also started putting on golf days at Gullane which include a morning “inner game workshop” providing an introduction to the mental game of golf followed by lunch and 18 holes on one of Gullane’s three courses.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Alison White back from

golf development trip

to Nicaragua

Alison White, R&A Golf Development Officer, has returned from Nicaragua where she attended the Central American Junior Championships.
The competition, which took place at the Nejapa Golf and Country Club in Managua, is now in its 33rd year and provides talented boys and girls of all ages with the opportunity to play competitive golf with children of similar abilities from all over the region.
The 2009 staging represented the Championships’ first year of association with The R&A. A grant of £10,000 awarded to the organisers in recognition of their continued support of the Junior Open Championship, to which they have consistently sent players to compete.
The winner of this year’s Central American girls’ event was Carina Cuculiza, a native Nicaraguan who has twice played in the Junior Open, including 2008’s competition at Hesketh Golf Club. The boys’ individual competition was won by Sebastian Fernandez, a key member of the Guatamalan side that lifted the team trophy.
“We hope that 2009 is the beginning of a lengthy partnership between The R&A and the Central American Junior Championships,” commented Alison White (pictured above by Cal Carson Golf Agency). “The organisers of the event have been very pro-active in developing junior golf in Central America and it’s right that we both recognise and support that work.”


Wednesday, December 17, 2008 welcomes

Karyn & Graham Dallas ... and

Welcome to our new advertisers, Karyn & Graham Dallas, from the Kirriemuir Golf Club professional's shop.
Former SLGA national coach and past Ladies European Tour player Karyn is the PGA professional offering technical coaching, support and information.
Graham is responsible for sales information and software support.
Graham Dallas, by the way, is writing interesting articles for our sister website,
What is
Log on to the Dallas's advertisement and find out.
Scroll down the left hand column until you come to it.


Saturday, December 06, 2008

Top coach Karyn Dallas invests £10,000 in
new equipment at her Kirriemuir club base

Ex National coach Karyn Dallas has much to be proud of as she moves into 2009.
The announcement that despite pouring millions into junior golf over the past five years has had little impact on the numbers of juniors joining clubs, Kirriemuir Golf Club, where Karyn quietly develops her Tg54 coaching programme quietly, continues to buck the trend.
Little has been said about the success of this programme which sees Kirriemuir Golf Club have a 130-strong junior section of which 31 are girls, backed up by a healthy waiting list. There are also 170+ children currently on her junior coaching programme. And these kids are blossoming as evidenced when a 14-year-old girl won the Ladies Scratch Championship in 2008 and with three Kirriemuir players expected to make up half of Angus’s Under-14 boys team in 2009.
At the elite end of Karyn’s programme we saw Roseanne Niven win the 2008 British Ladies Stroke-play Championship, but what was significant is that Roseanne’s win makes it four years in a row that players coached at Kirriemuir have either won a Scottish or British title.
2009 will see a further two players from the Kirriemuir stable head to tour school, Pamela Feggans and Karyn Burns.
Dallas is convinced that both have the potential to join another of her players, Jenna Wilson, on the 2009 LET circuit.
2008 was significant milestone for Karyn’s programme, when two of Scotland’s finest young male golfers signed up for tuition. Stereo typing has meant that until now it has been mainly women who have gone to Karyn but the recent success of the junior boys and their technical excellence has brought the programme to the attention of some of Scotland’s fine young male golfers.
Dallas continues to drive her programme forward and is investing around £10,000 in 2009 on new equipment that she feels is vital if her players are to compete at the top end of world golf. New software is being introduced to improve distance coaching, force plates are being integrated into her video analysis programme as well as a new launch monitor.
The investment will make Kirriemuir Golf Club one of the world’s most advanced coaching establishments with a teaching facility unrivalled in the United Kingdom.


Friday, October 10, 2008

The Oxfordshire development

will rule out staging Ladies

English Open in 2009

The Leaderboard Group has reluctantly decided to end its partnership with the Ladies English Open.
It brings to the end a five-year association between the group and the event which was won earlier this year at The Oxfordshire by home star Rebecca Hudson.
The event had returned to the great course after a four-year stint at sister club Chart Hills in Kent.
But victory after a long legal battle to grant permission to build a hotel at the course means there would be too much disruption to host the event.
Paul Gibbons, chairman of the Leaderboard Group, said he was sad to end the association with the event but the hotel build and further development of the Oxfordshire as a major leisure resort is now top of his priorities.
He said: “I think we can hold our heads high with all the work we have done to help promote women’s golf and the Ladies European Tour. We have hosted five wonderful events but it’s now time for somebody else to take on that mantel.
"We have fought long and hard to be able to expand the leisure facilities at The Oxfordshire and now we have to make sure our new hotel, spa, swimming pool and expanded golf operations have our full attention.
“It was great to see an English contingent featuring so strongly in this year’s Ladies English Open particularly as Leaderboard have been such strong supporters of women’s golf over the years. We hope that the women’s game continues to grow and flourish in England and wish the LET well in their quest to find a new home for the LEO.”
The Oxfordshire, near Thame, has now been granted permission to commence building and the first visitors are expected to be welcomed in 2010, with building work due to start in November.
In addition to 46 double rooms and four suites, the new building will also house an indoor swimming pool and fitness suite including a fully equipped gym, sauna and treatment rooms.


Thursday, June 12, 2008

Business as usual at North Berwick Links

while clubhouse is refurbished


There can be few golf courses that have staged a major championship - "major" with a small 'm' - while the host clubhouse has been closed for refurbishment.

But that's the state of affairs this week at North Berwick West Links where the British women's open amateur championship is being played for the first time in the tournament's 115-year history.

The clubhouse is undergoing a major refurbishment costing well over £1million and it would have cost a lot more in the long run had the North Berwick club delayed its start until after the British women's championship had been played.

The golf club has set up its own "tented village," housing the administration offices, catering lounge, etc. Tents have come so far along the road from the canvas variety that this temporary accommodation is quite acceptable.

North Berwick Golf Club, formed in 1832, is the 13th oldest golf club in the world. The clubhouse that is being refurbished was built in the late 1870s-early 1880s.

Prior to that point, a marquee was erected for the main meetings with members supplying the food and refreshments.

So you could say that things have gone full circle at North Berwick!