Friday, April 02, 2010


Surge in Deer Park junior numbers after Pros teach 600 in local schools

(Picture right:  Deer Park Pro Sandy Strachan teaching juniors on his clubgolf course last year, by Rob Eyton-Jones)

Deer Park Golf & Country Club PGA Pros, Sandy Strachan, John Murray and Andrew Dunsmore,
spent a large part of March teaching golf to children in local schools.

Working in earnest to ultimately build a junior academy at the Livingston club, the pair had began offering clubgolf coaching last summer before deciding at Christmas to half the club's annual junior fee.

Seeing the interest in clubgolf being generated in neighbouring schools this term they took the initiative and decided to teach 600 Primary 5 children.

“We got the idea after doing some children’s coaching with TriGolf gear during the Skyfest at Ingliston and saw how much they enjoyed it,” said Sandy.

“We are looking at ways to grow our junior programme so we sat down with our Active Schools Co-ordinator and saw it as a good way to go to give every Primary 5 child in 11 schools a taster session.

“The format was pitching, putting, and a competition at the end which went down fantastically.

“This was the first time we have taught golf in schools - the schools were over the moon and we had a fantastic response from the kids.

“For the schools that had not done clubgolf it gave them a kick start to begin because the teachers saw how much the kids enjoyed it.”

Over 1400 West Lothian children will play golf at school this year through the national junior golf programme, clubgolf, a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland created as a legacy following Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup.

Having a junior friendly club close by, complete with Pros offering structured programmes from beginner to advanced levels, is the perfect opportunity for these children to develop their skills.

“One of the main focuses at Active Schools is to create a pathway for children by creating a link between schools and clubs so that children have the opportunity to learn a sport in the community,” said Deans cluster Active Schools Co-ordinator, Glenn Marsters, who has taught almost 100 school staff to deliver clubgolf’s introductory game.

“For the children in my schools the pathway is Deer Park and it was great of Sandy to go in to the schools and give a taster.

“The feedback from schools, and the fact that a golf Pro delivered it, has been very positive.  For the children it’s good to put a face to the club.  It has given the club a higher profile and forged a clearer link with the club.”  

Thirty children were on Deer Park’s clubgolf coaching programme last year.  As a direct result of this year’s school taster sessions, that figure has more than doubled.  The course is just £20 for eight weeks of lessons and the club has doubled the number of lessons, to eight, to accommodate the surge of interest.

“The offshoot is we have had 37 children signed up for our Stage 1 course which starts after the Easter break,” said a delighted Sandy.  “This is a good return and we should get more applying for the course over the coming weeks.

“Coaching at clubs in the winter can be quiet and this was a great way to get golf into local schools and generate interest in our programme.

“We have discussed it and the plan is to do the same again next year.  It’s a great model for the future and something that Pros in other clubs could look at to boost their own junior numbers.”

To find out more about junior coaching at Deer Park contact Sandy Strachan on Tel:  01506 446688       

To find out more clubgolf contact Mandy Martin, clubgolf’s Central Regional Manager, on Tel: 07956 540587, e:

Or visit the clubgolf website:


Monday, March 29, 2010

Dunbar Pros take golf into local primary school

Jacky Montgomery, Dunbar Golf Club’s PGA Pro, together with his fully qualified assistant, Richard Cartright, who lead the clubgolf programme at the club, made an extra effort to encourage children to take up the sport this year by organising a competition for Dunbar Primary School children on their own grounds.

“I wanted to engage with that primary school before the children came to the club for coaching,” said Jacky, who supported the coaching organised by the school and East Lothian Council’s Junior Golf Development Officer, Kate Green,

“We’ve been generally good at attracting children to the club but hope to have sparked even more interest as a result of today.”

Dunbar Golf Club began offering clubgolf coaching in 2006.  A lasting legacy to Scotland’s successful bid to host the 2014 Ryder Cup, clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.

The club started with two volunteer coaches and 30 children, increasing that figure steadily to 66 children in 2009. 

P5 children who have played clubgolf’s introductory game, firstclubgolf, at five local primary schools feed into the club's weekly clubgolf coaching sessions delivered on a Monday and Tuesday evening through the season.

“We now have 14 volunteer coaches and between our Stage 1 and 2 programmes we will have around 90 children on coaching programmes at the club,” said Jacky.

“We have children on the second year of Stage 2 coaching who are almost at Stage 3.  Both my assistant, Richard, and I have done what we need to deliver Stage 3 coaching and by the end of this summer we will be rolling it out.”

Last week at Dunbar Primary the emphasis was on attracting a new group of P5 children to begin at the initial levels of the programme.

“These children would have already had three or four sessions with their teacher playing firstclubgolf and letters have gone out inviting them to come to the club for Stage 1 coaching,” said Jacky.

“Over the afternoon we had around 90 children playing in a Texas scramble over eight holes.  I was able to get round and see most of the kids and help them.  I think they enjoyed the fact that the local Pro was there; maybe there was a little bit of a novelty factor and hopefully we sparked some real interest.

“There were certainly lots of happy smiling faces.”

This term firstclubgolf will be rolled out in every East Lothian primary school.  In the past, 25 percent of P5 children from Dunbar, West Barns, Stenton and East Linton Primary schools have decided to progress from firstclubgolf to Stage 1 coaching at the club.  The fifth feeder school, Innerwick Primary, was on rotation in 2009 but has rejoined the programme in 2010 and hope to also have some children continuing with golf.

Dunbar has a high rate of children progressing through their player pathway and continuing from stage 1 to stage 2 of the programme.  Most of the children are now choosing to join the club and put their new skills in to practise as junior members.

The club has taken the proactive approach to recruiting a dedicated and enthusiastic group of PGA Level 1 coaches.   Club member, Dave Northcott, is entering his fifth year as the club's clubgolf coordinator, a role he undertakes on a voluntary basis.

"It was fantastic to have Jacky and Richard's support at the games sessions at Dunbar Primary,” said Kate Green, Junior Golf Development Officer, East Lothian Council.

“Setting up a miniature golf course in the school’s playing fields allowed the children to put into practice the shots they have been learning in the previous sessions delivered by their class teacher.

“It is important that children feel confident enough to progress on to coaching at club level.   The club Pros are both great role models and in an ideal position to welcome children into the club set up.

“Having the Pros at the school was a great help in strengthening the link between the school and the club.”

For more information about clubgolf and how it can benefit your school or club visit: and contact:

clubgolf’s East of Scotland Regional Manager, Laura Rushby on:

t: +44 (0)7956 540595 e:


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jamie Frail, Active Schools Co-ordinator for the Irvine Royal cluster and Jo Rand, Active Schools Co-ordinator for additional support needs schools, with pupils and staff from Annick Primary and Stanecastle Schools playing firstclubgolf and helping plant trees on the schools’ course Image by Rob Eyton-Jones. Click on it to enlarge.

Junior golf drive on course in Irvine area

The drive to give every Primary 5 child in Scotland the opportunity to play golf is proving successful in the Irvine area. After Easter all five primary schools in the Irvine Royal Academy cluster will introduce their children to the game through the national junior programme, clubgolf.
This will be the first time that all five have been involved. Around 50 children will receive taster sessions through the programme’s introductory game, firstclubgolf, which employs modified equipment, is taught by school staff and supported by Active Schools Co-ordinators.
“Last year two schools were involved but this spring every single school will be doing extra curricular firstclubgolf, either at lunchtime or after school,” said Jamie Frail, Active Schools Co-ordinator for the Irvine Royal cluster.
“Each of the five schools is expected to have 10 children in their P5 age group participating in their extracurricular golf programme - so there is potential for 50 children to be regularly playing golf this year.”
A lasting legacy to Scotland’s successful bid to host the 2014 Ryder Cup, clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.
Active Schools is an integral part of clubgolf’s schools programme, in helping train teachers and supporting the programmes in schools as well as recruiting more volunteers to deliver.
The Irvine Royal Academy cluster children have the advantage of being able to use a six-hole golf course on their doorstep between Annick Primary and Stanecastle School.
“The golf course was completed last year and as far as I know Annick is one of only two schools in Scotland which has its own course,” said Jamie.
Last week children from the school and neighbouring Stanecaslte (an Additional Support Needs school) were busy helping plant trees and daffodils on the course.
“Having a golf course on the school grounds is a big help and as a resource it’s perfect for developing golf. Because it’s on Annick’s doorstep the school use it for teaching golf to all of their year groups with credit going to the head teacher who has been a major driving force.
“The five schools will do their own firstclubgolf coaching then one night a week Annick is open for children from the cluster and surrounding community to come and use it. All we need is for volunteers to open the course and supervise the sessions.
"So far we have senior pupils from Irvine Royal Academy, those who have an interest in golf, lined up for this role. I will be organising further training so that more volunteers from the community will be able to deliver firstclubgolf and enjoy the course.”
In 2009 over 753 North Ayrshire Primary 5 children (just over half of the year roll) were introduced to golf through firstclubgolf. This year the target is to roll out the game to 75% of the children in the area.
“Children really enjoy the game,” said Jamie. “Golf is a good leveller and a game that every child, both boys and girls, can play. They like the freedom of being able to get outside and hit a ball, and getting outdoors has massive health benefits. Active Schools introduces golf in the schools and develops the volunteers who will then deliver the game.
“The next step is to encourage the ones that are interested in developing their golf so we can get them into a clubgolf programme at a local club.”
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager


Monday, March 22, 2010

Dean Robertson coaching Linlithgow children at the Kingsfield Festival (Image by kby Rob Eyton-Jones)

Kingsfield Kids have fun with Dean Robertson

Linlithgow’s Kingsfield Driving Range welcomed 73 local primary school children for its first ever festival which could encourage youngsters to develop a life-long interest in the game.
Last year 1,400 West Lothian P5 children (70% of the total year roll) experienced the game at school through clubgolf’s introductory game.
clubgolf is Scotland’s legacy programme for Scotland’s successful bid to host the 2014 Ryder Cup and a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.
“The inspiration for the festival came from the fact the primary schools in Linlithgow have a number of sports festivals each year which tend to be rugby, hockey and football,” said Kingsfield Manager, David Mitchell.
“We have a real family atmosphere at Kingsfield and are working hard to get more kids involved in the game. We approached the local Active Schools Co-ordinator and offered the centre for the day and set up some games and brought in a personality”.
The personality was Dean Robertson, the 1999 Italian Open winner and 2006 Scottish PGA champion who now runs the highly successful Scottish Junior Golf Tour.
“My philosophy is about creating games for learning and understanding which is what we rolled out here today,” he said.
“I’m huge on positive coaching. In order to learn you have to create an environment which is synonymous with having fun. That was evident today where the kids were really buzzed and they enjoyed it.
“clubgolf introduces the kids at beginner level with simple games that were on show today. One of the teachers hit the nail on the head today when she said the improvement in the kids as they go around is incredible.”
With clubgolf’s introductory game set to introduce over 41,000 to the game this spring Kingsfield’s involvement comes at the perfect time.
“The festival was fantastically well organised and the children loved the day,” said Active Schools Co-ordinator Lauren McLean, who supports school staff to deliver the introductory game and creates links between schools and local clubs.
“We have taught clubgolf in school for a number of years and we are very fortunate in having golf clubs in Linlithgow offering clubgolf coaching that the schools can feed into.
“Kingsfield complements these clubs by offering different services such as holiday programmes and another advantage is that it has a covered driving range.”
“These children get clubgolf coaching in school during the day and they now get the opportunity to go to Kingsfield and get the chance to carry on playing golf.”
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager
Official clubgolf website:


Thursday, March 18, 2010

Thornton Golf Club captain John Anderson coaching Glenrothes P5 children at the clubgolf festival (image by Rob Eyton-Jones)

Clubgolf Festival attracts 140 children to Glenrothes

Thornton Golf Club is the latest club to add its weight to the national junior golf programme, clubgolf which is sweeping across Scotland in a bid to introduce every Primary 5 child to the game.
A lasting legacy to Scotland’s successful bid to host the 2014 Ryder Cup, clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.
“We have had a junior section, both for boys and girls, for a considerable time but in the last two years it has dwindled quite substantially,” said Thornton’s captain, John Anderson.
“I attended an SGU seminar last year where I learned about clubgolf and I was impressed by what I heard.
“We were already thinking of ways to get involved in junior coaching and this seemed to be the right route for us to go; it’s prompted us into action.”
Last year 1,644 Fife children experienced the game at school through clubgolf’s introductory game, firstclubgolf. As part of a drive to increase those numbers in 2010, Active Schools organised a clubgolf festival in Glenrothes last week which attracted over 140 children from 14 of the town’s 20 primary schools.
“We organised the festival to support the big push we are making in primary schools,” said Active Schools Co-ordinator, Pauline Jones.
“We have already been training school teachers to deliver the game in schools and we have given these teachers bags of firstclubgolf equipment so they can put golf sessions into PE or after- school clubs.
“We have also trained 30 sports coaching students from Adam Smith College to teach firstclubgolf to assist us with offering practice sessions in the Glenrothes area. We need more trained volunteers to deliver clubgolf and it works well for the students because they gain experience working with children and they develop a broader knowledge base.
“The feedback from the schools is very positive and a lot of them plan to continue teaching clubgolf.
Local clubs are coming forward to offer the next stage of the programme so if the children are keen they will have somewhere to progress to.
Newly signed-up Thornton joins nearby Balbirnie Golf Club and Cluny Golf in offering clubgolf coaching.
Last weekend Mr Anderson and three other club volunteers attended clubgolf’s two day Level 1 training. Next month they will learn if they have passed the course and are qualified to coach youngsters.
"In addition to our golf course we have a large practice ground where we can coach juniors," said Mr Anderson, who coached the children at last week's festival.
“Hopefully we will all be licensed to coach in three weeks and in the meantime we are planning the next steps and also thinking of setting up an open session for juniors to come along and register their interest.
“We are keen to start junior coaching with the local primary school children and as soon as daylight allows we will start our coaching.”
To find out more about clubgolf junior coaching at the three clubs please contact:
Thornton GC
Telephone: 01592 771111
Balbirnie Park GC
Telephone: 01592 752006
Cluny Clays
Telephone: 01592 720374

Rob Eyton-Jones

clubgolf Media Manager
Official clubgolf website:


Monday, March 15, 2010

Grange Primary School pupils with Grange Golf Club volunteer coaches and Active Schools co-ordinator Stephen Gammack (blue shirt). Image by Rob Eyton-Jones.

New junior golf association to benefit Monifieth children

A new initiative aimed at combining and coordinating the junior coaching resources of three Monifieth golf clubs will have a major impact on the number of local children being introduced to the game.
This month Broughty, Grange and Monifieth - all clubs which share the Monifieth Links - joined forces under the banner of the Monifieth Junior Golf Association to improve opportunities for children to play the game.
“In previous years each club has run its own junior programme with all running at different times which has made it difficult to get on the course,” said Grange Captain and Junior Convenor, Ron MacDonald. “We felt we weren’t doing justice to all the juniors involved.”
Through the association a new junior coaching course will take place on Friday nights. Around 10 experienced golfers, including a number of Level 1 coaches, from across the three clubs have already committed to giving coaching, starting on April 2, to children aged between nine and 14 years old (the coaching costs just £2 per child each Friday).
The club’s pro, Gordon McLeod, will support the programme by offering group coaching to all juniors on Saturday mornings from April 17.
“Through the new association we will be able to pool our resources and teach more children,” said Ron.
“We have put together a coaching rota which will take the strain out of coaching every week. We will separate the juniors into two age groups; eight to 10 year olds and 11 to 13 year olds and teach them basic skills on the practice ground and putting greens. We will take them on the course for a mini Texas Scramble. The coaching will follow the clubgolf Junior Passport initiative.
“We are hoping initially for 40 to sign up then we will build from there. We have had a good response from the schools and 15 children have already said they want to pursue golf and will come to the coaching.”
Since September, five Grange Golf Club members have been generating interest amongst the Primary 5 age group in six local schools, through the national junior programme, clubgolf.
It was Angus Active Schools co-ordinator, Stephen Gammack, who initially contacted Grange Golf Club to see if a link could be created between the club and local schools. Stephen, who taught the volunteers how to use the clubgolf introductory equipment, which every school has purchased, is delighted with the new junior association.
“Through their fantastic commitment the volunteers are coaching around 200 children in schools which is a substantial number of potential new golfers,” he said
“The formation of the Monifieth Junior Golf Association marks a huge step forwards and will benefit children right across the area. A complete pathway from schools to club, involving and supported by the pro, is now in place.”


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Active Schools Co-ordinator Matt Mullen shows Glasgow school staff teachers how to deliver firstclubgolf (imae byRob Eyton-Jones)

Glasgow gets set to introduce 3,300 children to golf

The drive to give more Glasgow primary school children the opportunity to play golf accelerates this month with the city’s Active Schools Team training classroom teachers to deliver the national junior golf programme, clubgolf’s introductory game.
In 2009, 42 of Glasgow’s 170 schools introduced their 1260 of their Primary 5s to clubgolf’s introductory game, firstclubgolf, which employs modified equipment. Taught by school staff, supported by Active Schools Co-ordinators, it gives children an enjoyable introduction to the game.
That figure, 21 percent of the total P5 roll of 6000, is expected to rise by 2000 this year after clubgolf and Active Schools combined forces to buy 50 bags of firstclubgolf equipment for Glasgow schools.
“This is a big step up this year in terms of increasing the numbers of children who we will deliver clubgolf to,” said Active Schools Manager, Kay Cherrie.
“The difficulty in the past was that without firstclubgolf equipment in schools there was little point in the staff becoming trained to teach the game.
“This year we have been able to access the finance to buy 50 bags so two thirds of schools now have equipment. Half of the funding (£7500) has come from the Council and Education Services. clubgolf has matched this which has enabled us to buy 50 bags and make the big push.”
To ensure that staff in these schools are fully prepared to teach the game to children, Active Schools is running a series of training sessions this month. Eighty three teachers are being trained in three four-hour sessions. Active Schools Co-ordinators continue supporting staff once they begin delivering in their schools.
“The response from schools and teachers has been really good,” said Mrs Cherrie. “With support from Active Schools Co-ordinators, staff find clubgolf relatively easy to deliver.
“With the equipment and the lesson plans, it’s a readymade off the shelf activity that can be used in our schools, during curriculum time, circle time, after school and in holiday programmes.”
“Our Active Schools Co-ordinators will make sure the schools are fully supported and the children get a good experience from it.”
With higher numbers of children being introduced to the schools game more clubs and volunteer coaches will be needed to ensure they can progress.
Haggs Castle is the first private club in Glasgow to see the potential of signing up to clubgolf and will be organising training for its volunteer coaches this spring. The volunteers will link with their local schools to provide a pathway for the children to progress into junior and eventually senior golf.
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager
Official clubgolf website:


Wednesday, February 24, 2010

clubgolf coaches teaching West Lothian children at Polkemmet Country Park (image by Rob Eyton-Jones; click on it to enlarge).

Polkemmet junior initiative attracts 30 youngsters to golf

A junior initiative which began at Polkemmet Golf Club just over a year ago designed to revitalise its junior set-up has succeeded in attracting 30 young players to the game.
The club, in Polkemmet Country Park near Whitburn, began by offering structured coaching through the national junior golf programme, clubgolf.
Emerging from Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup, clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association, Professional Golfers’ Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.
So popular have its twice weekly sessions become that its junior membership, devoid of a single child for the last three years, has now begun to flourish.
“In the three years I’ve been here we’ve not had any children taking out a normal junior membership so we wanted to do something to change that,” said Stuart Mungall, Polkemmet Country Park’s Service Co-ordinator.
“Over 30 children attend our coaching through the week and since we started our new junior membership in November we have attracted 10 new members. Considering we’ve just had two cold and wet months, that’s an excellent response and something which we can build on through the spring and summer.”
Polkemmet’s junior membership, for £80, includes both tuition and unlimited golf, even on its peak day, Sunday, when children get tees reserved for them for an hour in the afternoon.
During Sunday afternoon play on its 9-hole course, the children are accompanied by clubgolf Level 2 coach, Macrina Crawford, two Level 1 coaches and parent helpers.
Polkemmet is a perfect example of a club taking a modern outlook to the sport, making its facilities accessible to juniors and creating a structured coaching pathway.
In West Lothian last year almost 377 Primary 5 children were introduced to golf through clubgolf’s introductory game, firstclubgolf. With that figure set to increase in 2010 the region’s clubs will benefit if they are equipped to deliver successive stages of the programme.
“Polkemmet has really taken this on and run with it,” said Active Schools Co-ordinator, Paul Stark. Active Schools is responsible for training and supporting school staff in the firstclubgolf phase of the programme as well as building strong links between schools and clubs.
“They have created some excellent new opportunities for both the children and themselves. They are able to start teaching children with no experience which is perfect for those who haven’t yet played firstclubgolf at school. Other children are coming from across West Lothian for coaching because they don’t have a club programme near them yet.”
Polkemmet meanwhile is planning an Open Day in April to attract more children and has just been awarded a £500 discretionary grant from clubgolf partner, the Golf Foundation, to ensure it is fully prepared to deal with the demands of more juniors.
“If we are successful with the grant then it will allow us to keep junior memberships as low as possible as well as buy equipment and cover costs of coaching,” said Mungall.
“We have quite a unique situation here with a covered practice facility and a nine-hole course which is perfect for beginners. At many golf clubs children have to be 12 or 13 years old before they are allowed to join and play medals.
“Here, kids of eight, nine or ten years can play the course without getting harassed by an adult. With the coaching we have in place we will develop juniors so that they can have handicaps so they will be able to progress to a full course.”


Palacerigg juniors with the golf club’s new Explanar golf swing training aid. Image by Rob Eyton-Jones. Click on it to enlarge.

Palacerigg getting in the clubgolf swing of things

Palacerigg Golf Club, which received a £5,000 Awards for All lottery grant for its junior section, has invested the funds into equipment to assist with its coaching programme.
"With this award we have purchased some really great equipment,” said delighted junior convenor Frank Anderson.
“It includes a professional Explanar to compliment our “junior” version which was donated to us by North Lanarkshire Golf Development Group, eight 'TrueStrike' mats which are going to be a permanent feature at the practice area, 10 sets of junior clubs as well as 600 balls.
“It has also enabled us to send three coaches on their Level 1 coaching course, giving us a total now of 12 qualified volunteer coaches.
“All this equipment will allow us to enhance our coaching, making sure kids have the right clubs for their height, a good swing path with the Explanar and a perfect striking surface so they are getting the best possible start to their golfing careers.”
The club, finalists in last year’s Dunfermline Building Society Junior Club of the Year Awards, started its junior set-up two years ago and has transformed its membership from 7 to 60 through clubgolf coaching.
Emerging from Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup, clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association, Professional Golfers’ Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland. clubgolf seeks to create the opportunity for every child in Scotland to experience golf by the time they are nine years old.
Working with the local schools, the club invites children to learn how to play golf under the guidance of qualified volunteer coaches.
This announcement coincides with the launch of the club’s dedicated junior web site, and its now annual Come and Try day which this year will be held on Sunday 11th April 2010 (there will be two free sessions between 10am and 12 noon and 1.00 to 3.00pm.
“Our Come and Try day has, in past years, allowed us to sign up 30 young potential golfers each year for coaching so let’s hope for the same this time,” said Frank.
“All equipment will be supplied or if you want you can bring your own. If you are nine years old or over and would like to book a session visit the ‘news’ section on our new web site and click on the link below to fill in the online consent form. We will contact you to confirm your place.”
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Clubgolf Press Release

Call for schools and clubs to get junior golf friendly
as Borders clubgolf drive shifts into a higher gear

(front left to right) Laura Rushby, clubgolf’s East of Scotland Regional Manager;
Gemma Ross, Active Schools Co-ordinator, Earlston Primary;
and Suzy Hamilton, Active Schools Co-ordinator, Earlston Primary,
with PE teachers from Borders schools)

The drive to give more Borders primary school children the opportunity to play golf intensified this month when PE teachers from schools as far afield as Peebles and Eyemouth were trained to deliver the national junior golf programme, clubgolf’s introductory game.

Training of these staff builds on strong foundations. In 2009 over 700 Primary 5 children in the Borders played golf at school through firstclubgolf, which employs modified equipment, is taught by school staff and supported by Active Schools Co-ordinators to give children an enjoyable introduction to the game.

Last year 10 Borders Clubs - Duns, Eyemouth, Hawick, Innerleithen, Kelso, Melrose, Minto, St Boswells, Torwoodlee and West Linton - delivered the next stage of the programme.

The bar rises twofold this year. The numbers of children being introduced to first clubgolf has been set at 80% of the P5 roll (960 children) and more clubs and volunteer coaches will be needed to ensure they can progress.

“Ultimately we will have full roll out of firstclubgolf in Borders schools,” said clubgolf’s East of Scotland Regional Manager, Laura Rushby. “To reach 80% this year we have come up with a plan to invest in equipment and train more school staff.

“Active Schools and clubgolf have split the costs of 22 bags of firstclubgolf equipment and the Active Schools team has invested in 27 firstclubgolf resource packs so every school in the Borders now has access to equipment through their Active Schools Co-ordinator.

“We organised today’s training to ensure PE specialists are fully prepared to go back to their schools and deliver to their P5s.”

The response from Borders schools has been positive. Now that they have a equipment and staff trained to coach, the onus is on them to deliver.

"There are now no excuses for schools not to deliver firstclubgolf,” said Laura. “We have exit routes in the form of golf clubs signed up in every cluster. We have provided equipment for every school to use, we have trained schools staff to deliverer. And cross-curricular resources are available to cover just about everything from designing a mini golf course to doing golf related maths.”

Active Schools is an integral part of clubgolf’s schools programme. Active Schools Co-ordinators will continue training P5 teachers and supporting the programmes in schools as well as recruiting more volunteers to deliver in the schools.

“In the past the training was for staff who are interested in delivering golf,” said Suzy Hamilton, Active Schools Co-ordinator for the Hawick cluster, who took part in last week’s PE Specialists clubgolf training course.
“But this year there has been a shift towards involving PE staff that have regular access to kids in PE time trained so they can get involved in the programme.

“The response from schools has been good. A lot of staff think it’s difficult to coach golf but when you show them how to use the fun equipment they realise it can be quite straightforward. Once they know about it they like it because it is fun and different.”

“Once they know about it they like it because it is fun and different. There is still some education to be done.”

More education, or at least more spreading of the word, is also needed in Borders golf clubs. A staggering 960 local children are set to experience golf for the first time this spring, and many of them will develop a taste for the game that could lead to lifelong participation.

In times of struggling club memberships and ageing memberships, 2010 will provide the best opportunity to reverse those trends.
“More clubs came on board last year and people are starting to realise that golf is more available for children in the community. But we still need more clubs and Pro's to get involved and more volunteers to become trained coaches so that we can give these children every opportunity to play and enjoy golf in the Borders"

For more information about clubgolf and how it can benefit your school or club visit: and contact: Laura Rushby t: +44 (0)7956 540595 e:

PE teachers from Borders schools learn clubgolf’s introductory game last week


Monday, February 08, 2010

St Margaret's School for Girls, Aberdeen head of PE, Georgeana Parker, teaching the introductory golf game of firstclubgolf to pupils (image by Rob Eyton-Jones; click to enlarge).

St Margaret’s on the ball with clubgolf

Golf loving girls from one of Scotland’s leading independent schools are bringing the game to the fore – thanks to a new partnership with clubgolf.
St Margaret’s School in Aberdeen has become one of the country’s first independent schools to work with clubgolf, an initiative which aims to give all primary five pupils the opportunity to play golf.
The clubgolf programme has already introduced almost 80% of primary 5 years in Aberdeen to the game – St Margaret’s is the first independent school in the city to run a clubgolf programme. Clubgolf, a direct result of Scotland’s successful bid to host the 2014 Ryder Cup, offers a structured programme which can take children from entry levels to the highest stages of achievement. As well as helping children reach their potential, it also allows a large number of youngsters to experience the sport.
Keen to raise the profile of golf among girls at the school, Georgeana Parker, head of PE at St Margaret’s, contacted clubgolf.
“We had a visit from Audra Booth who is the organisation’s regional manager for Grampian and she gave the girls a lesson which was fantastically well received,” she said.
“We have a number of girls who already play regularly but this was a perfect opportunity to introduce a new sport to an entire year group of pupils and they have loved learning how to play.
“Not only is golf a great way to exercise but it can be played by people of all ages which means that the girls can hit the golf course or driving range with friends and family in their spare time. Sport is such an important part of life at St Margaret’s and this underlines the school’s commitment to providing a wide and varied range of activities.”
Audra Booth says she is delighted that St Margaret’s has signed up for the national initiative – and encourages other schools to follow suit.
“St Margaret’s is one of the first independent schools in Scotland to run the clubgolf programme and this underlines the popularity of the introductory game,” she said.
“Eighty eight percent of the region’s schools are giving their children an early introduction to the game and 50 Grampian clubs are on board offering clubgolf programmes where they can develop their skills. This is really opening up the sport to youngsters and encouraging their early development as golfers.”

Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager


Monday, December 07, 2009

SGU East Academy breakthrough for three

Martyn Huish pupils at North Berwick

North Berwick pro Martyn Huish is celebrating after three of his pupils were recognised with call-ups to the Scottish Golf Union’s East Academy. Huish has been coaching the trio - Clara Young, aged 13, from North Berwick GC, and 14-year-olds Euan Bowden and Calum Hill of Glen and Tantallon GCs – as part of Scotland’s clubgolf programme.
They will receive coaching from Colin Brooks at the academy’s Braid Hills base in Edinburgh.
“These are our first players to make the Academy, which is fantastic news and hopefully they will be followed by many more,” said Huish who is one of the first PGA professionals to embrace the clubgolf programme.
His club has a 20 strong base of qualified volunteer coaches and 96 children in its programme.
“We are continually telling everyone in the programme what can happen at the end of it, so this
makes it worth all the effort we have put in from the start,” added Huish.
“We’ve got a good batch of kids here and they are all feeding off each other. We don’t have the situation which you often get when one junior is a long way ahead of all the others and doesn’t get the competition they need to develop.
“We keep them altogether which keeps them grounded. Because there is such competition within the club set-up these kids are all working hard to win their own competitions.”


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Harburn Golf Club professional Stephen Mills and clubgolf Level 2 coach Macrina Crawford with girls from the club’s girls-only clubgolf coaching course. Image by Rob Eyton-Jones.

Harburn out to encourage more girls to play golf

Harburn Golf Club, one of the first clubs in Scotland to join forces with the national junior golf programme, clubgolf, has started a new initiative to encourage more girls to play golf.
Over the last five years the West Calder club has transformed its junior membership and coaching through clubgolf, the partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland created as a legacy following Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup.
By having its PGA Pro, Stephen Mills, fully involved, the Club is ideally placed to coach children from complete beginner to advanced levels of the clubgolf programme.
In a thriving junior set up, the solitary blemish was that the number of girls attending weekly coaching was heavily outnumbered by boys.
It’s a statistic the Club, its Pro and its volunteer coaches have been quick to remedy. Last month Harburn held an open day for girls and the interest was so great that it has started a weekly girls-only coaching session.
“We have fewer than 30 girl members but we want a lot more so this is our ladies’ initiative for recruiting more,” said Harburn member and clubgolf Level 2 coach, Macrina Crawford.
“Twelve girls came for our open day and 11 have come back for the coaching which is an eight week course running through to the end of the year.
“Some of the girls had never picked up a club before and probably never had the chance to play golf until now. Our aim is to make it fun, they all get along very well because it’s an all girl group and they are learning better as a result.”
Through clubgolf partner, the Golf Foundation, Harburn was awarded a discretionary grant for £500, which supports Stephen Mills’ involvement in the girls coaching.
“Girls only coaching is certainly a good way to keep them involved,” said Stephen. “We are trying to make it a sport for everyone and we recognize that girls’ participation in golf could be a lot better.
“Some of these girls have already joined the Club which is very encouraging. We plan to run another girls coaching course in the spring and will get them out playing and hopefully get them handicaps.
“We’ve been giving clubgolf coaching for a number of years. It’s working in all levels and our members are very supportive. clubgolf is a great idea, especially getting golf into schools, which gives children who might not have had it the opportunity to play.”
This year some 38,000 P5 children were introduced to the game at school through the clubgolf’s introductory game, firstclubgolf. Over 1400 of them were from West Lothian.
“firstclubgolf is very popular with the children in my schools with over 100 children having an introduction this year,” said Lucy Goddard, Active Schools Co-ordinator for the West Calder area.
“Girls are one of our target groups to engage with more activity so it’s great that Harburn is promoting coaching for girls.
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager


Friday, November 27, 2009

Professional Sandy Strachan and the Deer Park Golf Club youngsters (image by Rob Eyton-Jones)

New Deer Park youth drive gaining momentum

Whilst golf takes its annual sabbatical in clubs across the country, Deer Park Golf & Country Club is intensifying its efforts to build a junior section which its Pros hope will eventually become a junior academy.
By its own admission Deer Park has not had the depth of juniors expected from a club which prides itself on its family orientation. Like many golf clubs it has a lot of juniors on its books...yet only a handful play regularly.
Now, the club is taking action to redress the balance. It has halved its membership fee for eight to 13 year olds to £89, has started offering clubgolf coaching and is developing a short course for juniors.
“Kids have always been keen to play here but it was too expensive and we were becoming a feeder for other clubs,” said Sandy Strachan, who joined the Club as Head Pro from Bathgate two years ago and is leading the junior drive.
“That’s fine for getting kids into golf but we weren’t seeing the benefit. So reducing the membership has really given us the opportunity to get active and get kids in. My aim was to get the membership fee right then make a heavy push on the coaching and build a junior section.”
Deer Park’s timing has been perfect."
This year some 38,000 P5 children were introduced to the game at school through the national junior golf programme, clubgolf, the partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland created as a legacy following Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup.
Over 1400 of these children are from West Lothian making Deer Park, with its new junior focus, well placed to offer a continuation of the programme.
“We have been working with clubgolf and Active Schools to get the message out to local schools and the potential for children to come here for coaching is massive,” said Sandy, who attracted 30 children, many of them from non golfing families, to his clubgolf Stage 1 coaching course this year.
Deer Park has a significant advantage over some clubs in that its Pros, Sandy and John Murray, are leading the coaching. At just £20 for the eight week course the programme, which is subsidised by a £400 grant from the Golf Foundation, is certainly affordable and comparable to the price of coaching delivered elsewhere by volunteer coaches.
“I’m doing the teaching because I feel that by catching children straight away I can nurture them from there and make sure they are going to be good junior members,” said Sandy.
“I have got my Stage 3 qualification, as has John Murray who joined us from Turnhouse (John was one of the first Pros in Scotland to offer clubgolf Stage 3 coaching) so we can take the children right through the levels to the advanced stages.”
Sandy does not see the onset of winter and deteriorating light and weather as an obstacle in progressing his clubgolf programme. Last week he was nearing the end of the second phase of coaching for children who have been with him this season.
“I’ve realised it’s more the case that Pros don’t want to be out in the winter but the kids are keen as mustard and as long as they are well wrapped up they have a great time,” he said.
“Of course if things get really bad we have the facilities to go indoors. Winter is a quiet time so there is a great opportunity for us to get out and utilise the course.
For its first year the programme has been a success. Consistent numbers of children have turned up for coaching on Fridays and Saturdays and all the children have got better.
“These are the first group of kids who have come in from the schools and have stayed with the programme since early summer,” said Sandy. “They have all made an improvement and quite a few of them are starting to hit well.
“We are coordinating with the schools that have done clubgolf’s introductory game to get another intake of children after Christmas. There are around 20 schools in the Livingston area so the potential is large.
“We are obviously at the start but what we are working towards is to create a Deer Park Junior Academy where you we take in children from a very young age and coach them right through to Scottish level and hopefully even professional.”
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager
clubgolf website:


Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Reay clubgolfer the first girl selected for Scottish Golf Academy

Reay Golf Club's Eleanor Tunn has become the first female player in Scotland to progress through the clubgolf programme to reach the Scottish Golf Academy.
Fourteen-year-old Eleanor was selected this month after her first season travelling to competitions beyond Caithness.
“It was a nice surprise because I went to a talent ID day in Stirling with lots of other girls and quite a few were a lot older than me,” said Eleanor, who finished her season on in 47th place on the SLGA Girls Order of Merit, for Scotland’s best under 18 girls.
Surprisingly Eleanor comes from a non-golfing family – neither of her parents plays the game. She started golf aged five, attracted to Reay Golf Club, like so many other children, by its thriving junior coaching on Friday nights. Had the family not moved to Reay from Cumbria when Eleanor was a three year old it is highly likely she would not be playing golf.
When Reay came on board with the national junior programme, clubgolf, in 2004, Eleanor was one of the first children to benefit from the new, structured coaching programme.
One of the Club’s volunteers, Evan Sutherland, became the first amateur coach in Scotland to earn the Level 2 coaching qualification, and has since been through Stage 3 Orientation. With the lack of pro in Caithness he has filled an important gap in the region’s coaching programme.
Eleanor has made impressive progress through Reay’s clubgolf programme since she joined it aged nine. In 2008, her first season proper, she earned a handicap, reducing it to 18 at the close and finished this season with a handicap of 12.
Eleanor is quick to acknowledge her coach’s help. “Evan has been amazing,” she said. “He’s given up a lot of time to do this and he’s always there to help. I only have to call him to ask for help and he’ll meet me at the Club.
“We are always out on the golf course, through the winter, even if it’s cold. I also do after school coaching with Evan in the gym where we put up nets.”
Evan, typically, trumpets the system in place, rather than his own personal involvement, “It is all down to the clubgolf coaching initiative and it proves that the clubgolf system through its various stages has worked both for Eleanor as a player and indeed in the way the coaches have been trained.
"She has been a pleasure to coach throughout the last five years and, although it is impossible to predict how far she can progress at such an early age, she has the talent, drive and determination to do well and this coaching programme will be a huge benefit to her.
"Hopefully it will spur on many of the other juniors we are training through the clubgolf coaching system to reach their own golfing goals.”


Monday, September 28, 2009

Texas Scramble prize winners, the middle three in the back row, l-r, Matthew Pippard (Hollandbush GC), Ross McLeod (Hollandbush GC), Jack McMorris (Torrance House GC), with other competitors at Brancumhall Golf Development Centre. Image by Rob Eyton-Jones. Click on it to enlarge.

New event marks start of new South

Lanarkshire junior golf strategy

By ROB EYTON-JONES, clubgolf Media Manager
Twenty-seven budding young golfers from three South Lanarkshire golf clubs enjoyed a new junior golf event at East Kilbride’s Brancumhall Golf Development Centre this month aimed at bringing together players and coaches from local clubs as the finale to a busy clubgolf coaching season.
clubgolf is the national junior golf programme formed by the partnership of the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland as a result of Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cu
The Brancumhall event was a Texas Scramble for children from three local golf clubs, Hollandbush GC, Torrance House GC and Broadlees Junior Golf Academy.
Each Club entered nine players, boys and girls, from their coaching programmes. To encourage the children to work together as a team and achieve the best score, each team comprised players from different clubs.
clubgolf volunteer Level 1 coaches, and a multitude of parents and supporters, were on hand to assist with each group’s scoring and encourage the players around the course.
The competition, a huge success, marks the start of a new five year junior golf strategy in South Lanarkshire Leisure which will lead up to the Ryder Cup at Gleneagles in 2014.
During South Lanarkshire’s first four-year strategy, completed in 2008, over 10,000 South Lanarkshire Primary 5 children were introduced to golf in schools through the firstclubgolf programme. The new strategy will maintain these impressive schools participation figures whilst increasing opportunities for children to progress their skills at local clubs and facilities.
Colin Girvan, Golf Development Officer for South Lanarkshire said: “We achieved some very impressive statistics during the first strategy. However, we are keen to keep improving our programmes and are focusing on supporting schools in staff training via the Active Schools Team whilst maintaining the resources required to deliver the firstclubgolf programme.
“With 100% roll-out of firstclubgolf across South Lanarkshire, exit routes to local clubs and facilities will be the main focus of the new strategy. The demand for junior coaching is greater than ever and there are opportunities for clubs and PGA Professionals to play a part in the South Lanarkshire Golf Strategy and fill their own coaching programmes whether it be clubgolf, Young Masters Golf or a Professionals own programme.”
Other significant areas of development in the new strategy include creating an elite performance pathway to identify and develop young talented players who could represent Lanarkshire in the International Children’s Games in 2011.
Secondary Schools in South Lanarkshire now have Active Schools Coordinators in position and the Golf Foundation programme Golf Extreme is currently being delivered in many of the schools.

Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager
t: 07775 746981
Official clubgolf website:


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Orkney children in front of the new practice facility (image by Rob Eyton-Jones)

Royal opening for Orkney Golf Club facility development

HRH The Princess Royal (on Wednesday 14 Oct 2009) will officially open a new practice facility at Orkney Golf Club which will transform junior coaching on the Islands.
Last autumn the Kirkwall based Club was awarded a £44,960 grant from sportscotland’s Building for Sport programme for an indoor practice facility. As a result of this funding further grants followed from HIE Orkney and Orkney Island Council. Extra funds in excess of £12,000 have been generated by members and parents of the junior members. Generous donations totalling over £10,000 have come from The R & A, OGC Ladies section and The Auld Boys.
Work on the new facility began in March, progressed seamlessly through the summer months and, bar a carpet which has to be laid is now complete. The new facility incorporates a covered three bay practice area, a two bay outdoor practice area and nets, four all weather tees and a Huxley putting green.
As an exciting extra the indoor practice area will house a Highland Institute of Sport Strength & Conditioning unit which will benefit the Islands’ Institute Network athletes.
Despite a short season and notoriously wet summers, the Club has, in less than four years, completely transformed its junior section. The catalyst for the junior drive is the national junior golf programme, clubgolf, a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland, which emerged from Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup in 2014.
In 2005 the Club put five members through clubgolf’s volunteer training course and opened for junior coaching. Within weeks junior coaching numbers had doubled from 20 to 40. This year 75 children registered for coaching. The number of qualified volunteer coaches now stands at 12.
Over the same time period the numbers of children involved in the Club’s weekly competitions has shot up from three to as many as 60. The Club’s third Junior Open in August attracted 88 children, 14 of them girls, from as far afield as Wick, South Ronaldsay and Stromness.
Now, at the point where the season has reached its traditional wind-down, the new facility means that coaching can now keep growing and developing through the winter.
“We are absolutely delighted that HRH The Princess Royal has agreed to support us by opening our new facility,” said Janette Mackie, who with Alistair Learmonth and Stewart Fotheringhame took over the running of the junior section in 2006.
“The facility will be a tremendous boost to the junior section, giving them the opportunity to have coaching all year round. It will develop the children’s quality of golf, which will in turn increase their enjoyment on the course.
“It is the enthusiasm of our children, and their eagerness to learn and improve, that spurred us on to provide this facility for them.
“This has been a fantastic project from which so many juniors and adults will reap the benefits. We would like to thank everyone – our sponsors, supporters, members, children and families - who have all contributed to its development.”
“Casey Construction has done fantastically well in bringing the indoor facility to completion. The finish is outstanding and has blended in with the rest of the Club. The volunteers have also worked extremely hard to help with the building’s interior finish and the external course work. Their team spirit and efforts are very much appreciated and we can’t thank them enough.”
sportscotland Chief Executive Stewart Harris said: "As we build towards the Ryder Cup in Scotland in 2014, it is fantastic to see clubs such as Orkney Golf Club embracing the clubgolf programme and putting junior golf at the very heart of the club.
"We are delighted that our investment of £44,960 enabled this important project to go ahead. The numbers of young golfers already lined up to use the practice areas and strength and conditioning unit demonstrates that providing the right facilities in the right location is instrumental in driving sports participation. Orkney Golf Club has created a fantastic facility which I'm sure will serve the needs of the community for many years to come."
Many are the examples of how the resourceful islanders have overcome every obstacle in their way. Their solution to the lack of a PGA Professional on the Islands has been to bring in Professionals to teach highly popular summer schools for the past two seasons.
A spin off of the new facility is that there is now the capacity to install a remote coaching video link. The Scottish Golf Union is providing a lap top and a video camera to enable Orkney volunteer coaches to send action footage of their juniors to the SGU Academy and North Talent ID centres.
One final development – extending the Club’s practice putting green from four to nine holes – should be complete by the spring. The Club is planning a “major binge” of fund raising efforts through the winter to bolster its junior funds.
In the meantime, following its royal seal of approval, the indoor facility will be open and be ready for coaching and practice in just three weeks time.
If anyone would like to find out more about the new practice facility (which will be open to anyone interested in trying out golf and non Orkney GC members are welcome) please contact:
Janette Mackie, Orkney Golf Club Junior Administrator on: 01856 870798
Andrew Bonner, Orkney Golf Club Captain on: 01856 741317

Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Hundreds of children enjoy Gleneagles experience

Over 250 children from school and golf clubs across Scotland taking part in clubgolf programmes were given a unique opportunity to develop their skills at Gleneagles last week.
The children - from Angus, Clackmannanshire, Edinburgh, Fife, Glasgow, Perthshire, and West Lothian - were all treated to a one hour coaching session from PGA professionals and clubgolf volunteer coaches; instruction covered bunker play, putting and the full swing. Then they watched Europe’s top professional golfers playing the tournament.
“The children were really excited to have this opportunity and they got a lot out of the day,” said Lynn Brown, a classroom assistant from South Muir Primary School in Angus.
“They all play golf and they have good opportunities to play the game locally. Not many children can say they have been to Gleneagles and a day like today will help keep them interested in the game. We are really grateful to clubgolf and Gleneagles for inviting us.”
Said Hazel Hume, a teacher at Deer Park Primary School in Clackmannanshire: “The children all said this was a fabulous experience. They did chipping, putting and learnt how to get out of a bunker and they loved it. They watched the Pros teeing off and saw Callum Macaulay on the 18th - he’s our local golfer and he gave them a wave which made their day.”
Launched at Gleneagles in 2003 as a lasting legacy to Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup, clubgolf is the national junior golf programme formed through the partnership of the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.
This year clubgolf introduced 38,784 of Scotland’s primary school children to the golf through the programmes introductory game.
Junior coaching last week is part of Gleneagles’ and the European Tour’s commitment to promoting junior golf in Scotland through clubgolf.
Other major golf events in Scotland this summer, including The Open at Turnberry and the Scottish Hydro Challenge at Spey Valley, also featured clubgolf coaching.
For the sixth year in succession clubgolf is giving hundreds of children the opportunity to experience Gleneagles by offering participating clubs the chance to play on The Wee Course between June and October.
Martin Ritchie clubgolf Regional Manager for Tayside & Fife said: “It was great to see so many kids eager to participate in the coaching sessions over the four days and we would like to thank Gleneagles and the European Tour for helping us create this fabulous opportunity.
“Judging from the feedback from children, their teachers and our coaches, the visit was a huge success and will no doubt help keep them involved and progressing in the game.”
Rob Eyton-Jones
t: 07775 746981


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Professional Michael Hackett, assistant Daniel Wood, Level 1 coach Bob Holmes and helper Jim Martin with children from Eyemouth Golf Club's junior coaching programme (image by Rob Eyton-Jones). Click to enlarge.

Eyemouth junior section transformed

in just two years

In just two years Eyemouth Golf Club has expanded its junior section from 12 to 75, after a new starting a new initiative which verges on being revolutionary.
“Juniors are the future of the game and the future of any golf club,” said Michael Hackett, who was shocked by the lack of junior members when he became Eyemouth’s first Club Professional in 2007.
“If you don’t have a thriving junior section you don’t have future members coming through as adults.”
Tackling the challenge Michael recommended to the Club’s committee (and it was accepted) to make membership for under 12 year olds free. Then, together with his Assistant Professional, Daniel Wood, and volunteer helper, Jim Martin, he began offering junior coaching.
This year the national junior golf programme, clubgolf, awarded the Club a £350 grant to put one of its members, Bob Holmes, through the Level 1 coach training course.
clubgolf is the partnership between the Scottish Golf Union (SGU), the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association (SLGA), the Professional Golfers' Association (PGA), the Golf Foundation and sportscotland, launched after Scotland’s successful bid to host the 2014 Ryder Cup.
A share of this grant went towards improving the Club’s practice facilities to benefit the juniors. Last year the Club had been awarded a £10,000 Awards for All grant which has since been used for an indoor area, complete with video analysis equipment.
Having an extra coach and upgraded facilities meant that this year, for the first time, the Club could offer coaching in three stages. Bob, who is the Club’s junior convenor, teaches the youngest children the fundamentals, including the basics of the swing and etiquette. Michael develops their skills and prepares them for playing on the course. Daniel and Jim then take them onto the golf course and play a few holes.
Through the four coaches’ efforts the Club’s junior membership now stands at 75.
“Hopefully we will have another group of kids coming through after this one, which will put the Club in a very strong position,” said Michael. “If we can then get half of the children becoming adult club members it will have been very worthwhile.”
The presence of a junior-friendly club so near to the local primary schools allows children a clear route to progress their golfing skills. Through the Active Schools network these schools already introduce their P5 children to the game through clubgolf’s introductory game, firstclubgolf, which uses modified equipment.
Eyemouth GC’s Bob Holmes, a retired school teacher, is now making moves to involve the local High School.
“We’re hoping we can link golf to the secondary school PE curriculum to encourage older pupils to have golf coaching,” said Bob, who recognises the need for more volunteers to follow his lead and become volunteer coaches.
“If we can recruit three of four more coaches or helpers then we would really take off,” he said.
“We have more children coming in, more parents saying good things about the coaching and club members responding positively about seeing juniors out on the practice ground.
“We are pushing golf and getting as many kids involved as we can. We need to go out to talk to them and their parents about the benefits of playing golf and joining Eyemouth Golf Club.
“We will help raise the bar in relation to playing standards and instil in our young players the value of the etiquette of golf - not just in relation to the game - but to life in general.”
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager


Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Sam Torrance, Alex Salmond and a possible Open winner in 2020 on the HomeComing putting green at Turnberry (image by Rob Eyton-Jones).

Significant increase in number of Scottish

Primary children involved in golf

A record high of nearly 40,000 Scottish Primary 5 children have been introduced to golf for the first time through the Government funded clubgolf initiative, First Minister Alex Salmond announced today at the Open Championship in Turnberry.
The First Minister announced the significant increase in the number of youngsters taking to the fairways in Scotland, the home of golf, as he joined Sam Torrance and young golfers benefitting from the national junior programme, clubgolf, on the Homecoming putting green today.
Already, this year 38,784 P5 pupils have been introduced to the game through firstclubgolf, clubgolf’s introductory game which uses modified equipment to give children a taste of the sport in school. This figure is 71 per cent of the total number of P5s in Scotland and represents an increase of 15 per cent over last year’s participation figures.
First Minister Alex Salmond said:
“Scotland is undoubtedly the home of golf. It is only right that we do all we can to help introduce young people to the brilliant game and encourage greater participation.
“Scotland’s golf clubs and facilities are helping to provide the ideal environment for juniors to flourish. And where better to announce that we now have nearly 40,000 P5 schoolchildren playing in golf than here, at The Open Championship in Turnberry, with the world’s eyes upon us.
“Scotland has 289 venues across the country working with children and young people through clubgolf. This bodes well for the future of the game at club level.
“An increasing number of golf professionals are delivering the national junior programme and they have teamed up with a workforce of qualified volunteer coaches that now numbers more than 1,500. Between them they will deliver clubgolf coaching to around 10,000 children in clubs this summer.
“I have high hopes that many of these youngsters will return to future Championships as key contenders for the Claret Jug.”
Hamish Grey, Scottish Golf Union (SGU) Chief Executive and clubgolf Board member said:
“As an integral part of the SGU and SLGA’s coaching programme clubgolf is continuing to make significant progress, enabling more youngsters than ever before to play the game.
“By giving children an early introduction to the game, clubgolf is helping to expand the base of players by making golf more accessible than ever before. Offering structured coaching at every level will lead to an improvement in playing standards, with the long term goal of stimulating a lifelong interest in the game.”


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Youth drive for West Lothian Golf Club

West Lothian Golf Club has taken a major step towards improving its junior section after becoming the newest club to join forces with the national junior golf programme, clubgolf.

Emerging out of Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup, clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland. Launched in 2003 by Colin Montgomerie, clubgolf has been developed as a direct result of the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce every nine-year-old child in Scotland to golf.

Like many golf clubs across Scotland, West Lothian had become acutely aware that its junior section was not what it could be.

“Our junior membership has never been as healthy as it should be,” said the club’s Pro, Alan Reid.

“I saw an opportunity because there were no golf clubs doing clubgolf in the Bo’ness area. We’ve got 60 juniors but only 25 play, and want to get them all on board as well as bringing in new junior members. We want to get a better junior member within the club by training them and teaching them the right way to play.”

Fortunately for the future health of the club, and the area’s children, Mr Reid will be supported by four club members who have become qualified PGA Level 1 volunteer coaches. With Mr Reid being qualified to coach Stage 3 of the programme the club is now fully prepared to coach juniors from complete beginner to advanced levels.

“I am putting everything in place at the moment and during Easter I’m hoping to get the volunteer coaches involved an hour’s coaching of the members to get them up and running,” said Mr Reid. Come the summer it will be full steam ahead.”

The club’s junior plans coincide with clubgolf’s roll out of the introductory game in schools across Scotland - this year 38,000 P5 children will experience the game.

“In Bo’ness around 200 children will be doing clubgolf at school over the next term,” said Kate Wallace, Active Schools Co-ordinator for Bo'ness.

“With West Lothian Golf Club on board this is the first link with a club we have had and it means we can get kids involved in a sport which they wouldn’t have had a shot at themselves. This will be a really good opportunity for the children.

“We are planning to do some work together over the holiday programmes. Alan will be supporting my programme by coming in to deliver some coaching in the schools and I’ll be helping promote his holiday programme at the golf club.”

The club has also identified an area of ground which it plans to develop into a three hole course and practice area for the juniors.

“Now is a great opportunity for youngsters to take up golf,” said Mr Reid. “In conjunction with the local schools we will get a constant trail of youngsters coming to the club.

“I played for Scotland and it’s something I’m passionate about. I want to make sure my juniors get the best start and can progress from club level, through to county and hopefully national level so we can start producing some top quality golfers.”

For further information about junior coaching at West Lothian Golf Club please contact:
Alan Reid on Tel: 01506 825060

In 2009 clubgolf plans to have 260 clubs on board and delivering clubgolf programmes. To accommodate local children clubgolf needs 350 volunteers to become trained on the Level 1 course this year.

For further information about clubgolf, volunteer coach training and how it can benefit local clubs please contact: Mandy Martin, clubgolf Regional Manager, Central Scotland on
Tel: 07956 540587 E-mail:


Monday, March 30, 2009

Land of Burns Community Youth Golf Festival

Monday 25th May 2009

Land of Burns Community Youth Golf Festival

Ballochmyle Golf Club, Mauchline, East Ayrshire

Ballochmyle Golf Club with support from East Ayrshire Council, clubgolf, and East Ayrshire’s Active Schools Department, will host and welcome all young people in the region to use this fantastic opportunity to discover if they have the drive to play golf during a special festival at Ballochmyle Golf Club, Mauchline, East Ayrshire on Monday 25th May 2009.

Ballochmyle Golf Club is clubbing together with East Ayrshire’s Leisure Development services, and Active Schools Partnership to support The Inaugural Land of Burns Youth Golf Festival and encourage children to take up the game.

The all day festival is free of charge to visitors and activities on the agenda include: PGA professional tuition, competitions, pitch and putt as well as advice about equipment and where to play.

The festival is part of an Initiative to encourage Youth Golf, Healthy Living, and East Ayrshire Region golf club’s junior development programme.

It is exactly the type of initiative supported by the national junior golf strategy, clubgolf, and a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.

Developed as a direct result of the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce every nine-year-old child in Scotland to golf, clubgolf created the opportunity for 33,600 children to experience golf in 2008

Speaking about the event Ian Cardle, of The Land of Burns community youth golf festival organiser said: “We’re really looking forward to the golf festival, which will be the culmination of months of planning.

“The region’s clubs have organised golf days in the past but never anything on this scale before. We’re hoping to get around 300 young people through Active Schools and the regions clubs to come along and learn about the sport and have fun while they learn.

“Golf is sometimes thought of as a sport for the older generation but the successes of famous young players such as Tiger Woods, Justin Rose and Michelle Wie show that is not the case. Hopefully, The Land of Burns Community Youth Golf Festival will spark the interest of the region’s very own scratch players of the future. At the very least, it will demonstrate that golf is a great sport that can be enjoyed by people of all ages.”

Active Schools Manager, Cheryl Brady, said: “East Ayrshire Active Schools Team are delighted to support this golfing event in partnership with Ballochmyle Golf Club. The event is an excellent opportunity to introduce children and young people to the sport of golf.”

Councillor Jim Roberts, spokesperson for Lifelong Learning, said: “I am very pleased to have been involved with this festival from the outset. The Council has also been eager to lend support to such a worthwhile community project and I am sure that the day will be a great success with everyone working together to encourage our young people to try their hand at a new sport."

Representatives from all of the region’s golf clubs have been invited to attend; and golf practice areas have been set up to accommodate them, as well as golf, the children will learn about healthy living, through the East Ayrshire Councils Neighbourhood Healthy Living Partnership and other exhibitors during the event.

Secretary of Ballochmyle Golf Club, Jim Davidson, said: “We are delighted to be involved in this event. The young people participating in this will hopefully go on and become junior members of the local golf clubs.”

There has also been a further event added to the festival with the Land of Burns Youth Trophy match, which will be staged on the day at Ballochmyle Golf Club for keen young golfers with a club handicap invited to play in the trophy game and those with less experience can watch them tackle the course, adding this dimension to the festival allows for the beginners to really get a taste of what they can look forward to in their future golf experience.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Aberdeenshire golf clubs receive

support for clubgolf clubs

Two Aberdeenshire golf clubs planning to start clubgolf junior coaching programmes for local children this year have received a welcome boost from the Golf Foundation.
Aberdeen’s Bon Accord Golf Club and Inverallochy Golf Club near Fraserburgh are among the first in Scotland to benefit from a discretionary grant aid scheme to provide financial support to promote junior golf for golf clubs and facilities registered with clubgolf and delivering clubgolf programmes.
clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, The Golf Foundation and sportscotland which emerged from Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup.
The grant scheme is being funded and administered by clubgolf partner, The Golf Foundation. Participating clubs/facilities may apply for up to 50% of the total cost of their initiative, up to a maximum grant of £500 (i.e. costs totaling £1,000).
The discretionary grants are supporting a nationwide surge of interest in junior golf through the clubgolf programme.
In 2008 clubgolf achieved the following:
· 1320 of Scotland’s 2217 primary schools delivered the introductory game ‘firstclubgolf’
· 33,600 Primary 5 children in Scotland played firstclubgolf at school
· 8,563 children took part in clubgolf coaching programmes at 233 local golf clubs and facilities
· 1137 qualified volunteer coaches delivered coaching in 2008
The popularity of the programme is mirrored locally in Aberdeenshire. Last year 128 primary schools in Aberdeenshire gave some 4500children an introduction to the game through clubgolf.
Forty of the region’s 54 golf clubs and facilities, 300 qualified volunteer coaches and PGA Pros, hosted clubgolf Stage 1 programmes for children who wanted to develop their golf.
“We are starting a clubgolf coaching programme this summer because we haven’t had any juniors at the club for about five years and the whole club wants juniors back,” said Bon Accord member, Ricky Dunn. The club is the city’s third municipal to join forces with clubgolf and is receiving a grant for £260.
“Our members are keen and dedicated to putting something back and starting a junior section. Four of them have come forwards to go on a Level 1 training programme with the PGA. So I’m hoping that the junior coaching will be a successful venture over the next few months.
“And because this is a new venture for us we are extremely grateful to the Golf Foundation for this grant, which will all go towards coaching for the juniors and, depending on what the juniors already have, to fund equipment.”
Inverallochy Golf Club near Fraserburgh will be putting forward three if its members to be trained as clubgolf coaches this spring.
“We are a small village club and it has always been in our interest to keep the youngsters in the village and surrounding area interested in golf,” said the club’s secretary, George Young.
“We have given our youngsters coaching on an individual basis in the summer for a number of years and we thought it best to come under the umbrella of clubgolf and have a structured coaching programme.
“The grant will help us with the coaching qualification for our three members and also help us buy golf equipment for them to teach the children with.
“Being a village club we encourage the youngsters to be a part of the club and we hold a 7 hole competition hole for the local primary school children. If there are youngsters interested in coming along for clubgolf coaching we welcome them with open arms.”
Golf clubs and facilities with clubgolf and delivering clubgolf programmes can apply for grant aid to support some or all of the following:
*Costs related to PGA training of volunteer coaches
*The purchase of clubgolf introductory game equipment or other practice equipment
*Appropriate payment to PGA professionals delivering clubgolf Stage 3 coaching
*Events designed to support the delivery of clubgolf programmes (i.e. open days, flag competitions)
*Justifiable development activity that will increase participation in clubgolf programmes
Applicants will be required to complete an application form which must be signed by two individuals, one of whom must be the Junior Convener or the recognised clubgolf Co-ordinator.
Forms are available from the clubgolf Administrator (01334 466493) or can be downloaded from
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager
t: 07775 746981
Official clubgolf wesbite:


Tuesday, January 13, 2009

clubgolf volunteer coaches needed

for expanding Argyll & Bute programme

This term 64 of the 89 primary schools in Argyll & Bute will have golf on the curriculum through the national junior golf programme, clubgolf – giving as many as 750 Primary 5 children the opportunity to play the game.
clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland which emerged from Scotland’s successful bid to host the Ryder Cup.
Introducing a new generation of children to golf is only the first stage. Last summer 134 children progressed from the schools’ introductory game to clubgolf Stage 1 programmes at local golf clubs. With that number set to increase this summer a crucial task is recruiting nearby clubs and helping their members become fully qualified to offer a structured programme.
So far 12 Argyll & Bute golf clubs, with a growing bank of some 50 qualified volunteer coaches, are offering clubgolf coaching and seeing the benefit. But more are needed to keep the new generation of golfers involved and developing.
Taynuilt Golf Club, Oban delivered clubgolf last summer, beginning to transform its junior sections in the process.
“We want to give youngsters the opportunity to play because it’s a game you can play throughout your life,” said the club’s junior convener and clubgolf co-ordinator Murray Sim.
“The clubgolf initiative to give all youngsters the opportunity to try the game is very important as far as we are concerned because these are going to be our future members.
“We had a very good uptake of 12 children last year. I don’t think these children would have played golf if it wasn’t for the clubgolf coaching.”
The view is shared among the region’s other clubs hosting clubgolf coaching.
Helensburgh GC’s clubgolf co-ordinator and junior convener, Stewart Coutts said, “clubgolf is really the future of golf and it’s helped us in the way that our kids enjoy the coaching and our 11 volunteer coaches enjoy coaching them.
“Golf can be quite difficult to learn to start with but clubgolf teaches children the basics and once they learn them they’ll enjoy the game far more and are more likely to stick at it. One or two of our kids are already progressing to good golfers.”
Tarbert GC’s clubgolf co-ordinator, John McNab said, “The clubgolf Level 1 coaching course was enjoyable, thorough and very worthwhile and it’s given us the tools to be able to coach children.
clubgolf’s main asset is that it gives a structured programme of coaching. It’s given us a focus of what we need to do each week and a focus of how to teach children.
On Monday 19th January Tarbert Golf Club will be hosting a clubgolf information event, starting at 7.00pm.
Then from March 14-16 clubgolf will be running a training course for would be volunteer coaches at Lochgilphead. The course’s closing date is 30th Jan.
If you are a golf club interested in finding out more about clubgolf, a volunteer who is interested in getting involved as a helper or a golf coach, or a parent looking for a local clubgolf programme for your child, please contact Colin Bell on:
Tel: 07882 364340