Active Schools helps create a sustainable clubgolf development pathway in Invergordon
Every Primary 5 child in the Invergordon cluster's four schools
receives an introduction to golf through firstclubgolf. Nearby
Invergordon Golf Club provides the exit route where children
develop their skills on the next stage of the player pathway.
The club has strong juniors (one who now plays off +1 and two
off scratch) but greater numbers of children are needed for its
membership to thrive.
In 2009 the club had two qualified volunteer coaches to deal
with an increasing number of children whose interest in golf had
been sparked by firstclubgolf at school. The club's junior convenor
realised that more coaches were needed to give juniors the best
"The link between the schools and the club has always been there
but our move now is to strengthen that link and provide a
structured pathway," said Gavin MacKenzie, Invergordon cluster's
Active Schools Co-ordinator, who plays an integral role in the
"The plan is to deliver firstclubgolf, either myself, or through
teachers and support staff within each school. Indeed in some
schools, where staff are particularly passionate about golf, they
will continue to provide first club golf through the summer
This term all of the cluster's P5 children will play five
sessions of firstclubgolf, using modified equipment.
"Because I run the Community Sports Leaders programme at
Invergordon Academy, which is for senior students to support
community sports activities, I'm training some of them to help the
delivery of the clubgolf programme in primary schools," said
"In addition, two HNC Sports Coaching students from Inverness
College will also support the delivery, giving them an opportunity
to develop their coaching skills.
"The fifth session of each school's programme will take place at
the golf club so that each child will get a real feel for playing
on a golf course."
The fifth lesson will be delivered by the club's qualified
coaches, using real golf equipment. As part of its commitment to
the programme the club had, during the winter, identified a group
of members keen to coach Stage 1 of the clubgolf programme and in
February were looking at a vastly fortified band of nine
"This year for the first time the club's junior convenor Kenny
Hearton is supporting the delivery of firstclubgolf in the
schools," said Gavin.
"This will help create a natural progression to the club because
the coaches the children meet at the schools are the ones they will
see when they get to the club.
Kenny is incredibly passionate
about golf and this is reflected in his willingness to give so
much time to help build the links between the schools and the
"The club is also supporting two of my Sports Leaders through
their Level 1 training course. They are both keen golfers and, by
their club putting them through the course, they are expecting a
good deal of commitment back from them."
The clubgolf programme is already popular at Invergordon GC,
which had 24 children on its coaching in 2009, and the new moves
this year will build on those strong foundations.
"For a lot of children firstclubgolf is their first taste of
picking up a club and getting some real coaching," said Gavin.
"The way the firstclubgolf programme is designed the children
are physically active, involved with teamwork and learn rules. We
have fun games that are golf related but are more vigorous than you
would normally associate with golf. So the children get plenty of
wider health benefits.
"Active Schools is about getting children out and active more
often, to encourage children into all these activities and for them
to find their niche.
"At Invergordon, the children coming through the programme have
an established pathway into the golf club where they can learn the
basic skills and develop their potential."
In July 2009, John Lindberg, Marketing Manager for Swedish Golf
Union, visited Invergordon to observe Newmore Primary School's
transition visit to the golf club.
Of Highland's 29 secondary schools, 27 have a direct pathway into
a local golf club with established clubgolf coaching programmes
with all Active School Co-ordinators advertising coaching sessions
and promoting junior membership.