Junior numbers are on the up at Brora Golf Club in the north east Highlands, the result of the club's forward looking PGA Pro Brian Anderson and support of his team of volunteers.
Brian began offering coaching through the national junior
programme, ClubGolf, in 2008. His initial intake of five children,
for some winter fun golf activity in the clubhouse, has since
expanded to over 30 every week in the summer
"So I'm having a think how we are going to handle these numbers
this year," said Brian. "The great comfort I have is the attitude
of Brora Golf Club, they are very open which is terrific.
"And I have a valued team of volunteers, who are a very precious
resource and perform a multitude of useful tasks."
Volunteer coaching is a relatively new concept in Scottish golf.
When ClubGolf was unveiled in 2003 as Scotland's legacy to staging
the 2014 Ryder Cup, as a key partner the PGA created the Level 1
course which enabled junior convenors, club golfers, parents, and
anyone interested to earn a qualification to coach the
As Scotland's PGA Coach Education Manager at the time, Brian had a
pivotal role in delivering and overseeing the Level 1 training.
Nine years later over 1500 coaches and more than 100 PGA pros are
delivering ClubGolf coaching in 311 Scottish clubs.
Brian is at pains to stress that the term 'volunteer' does not
have to mean just 'coach'. There are plenty of club members that
support his junior programme without ever teaching.
"The modern volunteer is a person who is able to go and do a bunch
of different things," he says.
"My valued volunteers come and perform a multitude of tasks and I
have recruited volunteers with various attributes.
"I have seven or eight that will be on the golf course with the
kids and another five or six in the background that do
transportation and other administrative work.
"They drive children around, they walk on the course when the
children are playing or run competitions."
Living in a tight knit rural community word gets around very
quickly when there is something good happening locally and worth
getting involved in, as is the case at Brora Golf Club.
But ClubGolf's success in cities and towns across Scotland is
testament that the programme can work anywhere. At last count some
12,675 children were active in club coaching programmes, which
Brian believes is in part due to the "the profile and ethos of
ClubGolf, which parents read about in the press that has made golf
more attractive and more available for kids."
Brian has been uniquely placed to watch ClubGolf evolve far beyond
the stage where pros anticipated losing their livelihoods to a
growing army of volunteer coaches. Well over 100 pros in Scotland
are now involved in coaching at different stages of the programme,
a growing band are involved as mentors to the volunteers.
"Of course I would recommend ClubGolf to other pros but I don't
think they need my recommendation," he continues.
"The new generation and breed of golf professional coming through
recognizes the need to create a future market. And golf clubs
throughout the UK are aware of the fact of diminishing membership
so they need to take every chance they can to develop and encourage
"It is something we are all looking at and ClubGolf offers a
fabulous avenue for them to walk down and recruit new blood. To
help that process volunteers are a very valuable resource."
What Brian and his volunteers have set up in Brora is good for the
club, the village and of course his business. But there's a lot
more to it than that, such as the deep satisfaction of seeing the
community embracing the game, and many taking up golf for the first
"One of the most satisfying things I've seen in the clubgolf
program is parents who have come just to support and watch, observe
and help and have actually taken up the game themselves.
"We are now seeing family games going out on the golf course. It's
hugely rewarding to see that happening."
The aim of ClubGolf is to create a development pathway from entry level through to the highest levels of achievement, enabling increased access to golf, higher participation levels, improved standards of performance, and sustained growth in the future.
As our national junior golfing strategy, ClubGolf seeks to do what is right for Scotland and aims to widen opportunities, increase participation in golf, and build foundations for Scottish success on the world stage.