Scottish golf’s ‘radical facelift’ to begin17th October, 2012 by Colin Victor
The governing bodies of Scottish golf have announced that the ‘radical facelift’ of the game, involving the rolling out of 50 ‘development centres’, is to begin in November, and have named nearly half of the clubs that will host them.
In an attempt to address a sharp fall in members and profits at Scottish golf clubs, plus a lack of Scottish golfers on the European Tour, the centres, which will provide youngsters with access to high quality coaching, will be introduced at existing clubs and facilities over the next three years.
The Scottish Golf Union (SGU), Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA) and ClubGolf have now announced the first 21 golf clubs (see below) that will be hosting these venues.
They include some of the most famous golf facilities in the world, such as St Andrews Links, and Royal Dornoch and Gleneagles golf clubs, and more beginner friendly locations, including Brucefields Family Golf Centre, Paul Lawrie Golf Centre and World of Golf Clydebank.
The centres are being funded by reserves from ClubGolf Scotland, the national junior golf programme, and will be established in three phases, the first of which will start next month.
Former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart, a member of the SGU’s performance committee, said: “We have some great facilities here in Scotland so this gives us the opportunity to maximise them. I’m very encouraged that the coaching focus will be on the short game, given the high standards at the top level.
“The success of the European team at last month’s Ryder Cup will undoubtedly be a great inspiration to all the youngsters in ClubGolf. It’s a very exciting time to be involved in Scottish Golf with the Gleneagles event less than two years away.
“The centres will help more youngsters make the most of their talent.”
The SGU’s Kevin Cademy-Taylor said: “The development centres are open to boys and girls, aged between 11 and 17, who have a club handicap.
“They will also bridge an identified gap between ‘ClubGolf Stage 2’ and our academy. They will provide structured coaching opportunities for young players to help them reach their potential.
“They will promote the improvement of a young golfer’s all round game, focusing on the fundamentals, and skills’ development, with a particular focus on short game and putting. The facilities we have selected will provide an environment which will allow them to work on all these aspects so it’s not just about hitting balls on a driving range.
“In addition, a series of educational workshops will be delivered that will allow both players and importantly their parents to gain a better understanding of performance development for golf.”
Players within the new programme will be entitled to 30 hours of golf coaching with 10 hours of expert advice on themes such as fitness, nutrition and psychology. Young players will continue to play the majority of their golf within their own club environment, alongside their own local coach.
Stuart McEwen, Gleneagles’ director of golf, added: “Gleneagles is proud to be one of the first development centres to support aspiring young golfers to reach their potential.
“As an official partner of ClubGolf, we fully endorse the programme in promoting life-long participation in the sport and encouraging juniors to be active members within their local clubs.
“Our coaches are committed to delivering a quality coaching experience and we look forward to seeing the next generation of golfers develop their skills and progress in the game.”
A legacy to Scotland’s staging of the 2014 Ryder Cup, ClubGolf is a direct result of the Scottish government’s commitment to introduce every nine-year-old child in Scotland to the game by 2014. The Scottish government has also given a further commitment of £2 million to support the core ClubGolf programme from 2014 to 2018.
ClubGolf is already delivering its Ryder Cup pledge with 2012 a milestone year – the highest number (40,000) of Primary 5 pupils recorded having gone through the introductory stage of ClubGolf and now a total of over 260,000 in the lifespan of the programme.
The first 21 Scottish Golf Development Centres:
Braid Hills Golf Centre
Brucefields Family Golf Centre
Cruden Bay Golf Club
Dumfries Golf Centre
Elie Sports Club
Gleneagles Golf Academy
Gullane Golf Club
Kingsfield Golf Centre
Mearns Castle Golf Academy
Meldrum House Golf Club
Nairn Dunbar Golf Club
Paul Lawrie Golf Centre
Playsport Golf Centre East Kilbride
Portpatrick Dunskey Golf Club
Roxburghe Golf Club
Royal Dornoch Golf Club
St Andrews Links
Strathmore Golf Club
Wellsgreen Golf Centre
World of Golf Clydebank