For North Lanarkshire Golf Academy, 2015 was filled with global success, more coaching, and stronger links with the community around the Lochview Family Golf Centre.
The Coatbridge academy is regarded as one of the most successful in the area for the work they do to help young talented golfers progress into the county team, and they currently have six players in the development and full squads.
One of the most significant results at elite level in 2015 was achieved at the International Children’s Games in the Netherlands last June. The annual multi-sports event, accredited by the International Olympic Committee, saw more than 1500 children aged 12 to 15 competing from across the world. Fourteen year-old Greg Dalziel, from Airdrie, won gold in the singles golf tournament and went on to win silver in the doubles along with Scott Thomson, from Coatbridge, also aged 14.
The numbers taking part in the coaching programme increased last year with 165 youngsters attending 13 different weekly sessions, split into six categories: academy, cadets, elite, additional support needs, girls, and mini tigers. The tigers was a new initiative to introduce pre-school children and their parents as to golf through basic, fun games.
North Lanarkshire Leisure facility’s PGA professional, John Kelly also works closely with their Active Schools team, and ran lunchtime and after-school clubs in 15 primary schools and secondary schools. With their help and ClubGolf's, he created a new series of festivals in which more than 500 children took part at a local sports centre.
Lochview also has a strong links with schools and colleges with Additional Support Needs departments, and John oversaw six weekly classes at five different venues.
The academy's coaching activities have helped membership of Lochview’s junior section, with season tickets increasing to 36 in 2015, up from 23 the previous year.
Another new initiative was an open day with two separate competitions, a flag event, and a competition for golfers with a handicap. There were over 100 entries with players attending from across central Scotland.
The facility is keen to welcome all members of the family and in 2015, more than 50 women enrolled in the Get into Golf programme, most of whom were mums, grandmothers, and aunts of children in the ClubGolf programme. And they are keen to extend their community links further, hosting an annual family fun day jam-packed with golfing and non-golfing activities, as well as Christmas parties aimed at giving non-golfers the chance to enjoy the family-friendly environment.
Speaking about Lochview’s inclusion in the final four vying for the Junior Club of the Year award, John Kelly said:
“It’s a great honour for our golf academy as we’ve been going less than 10 years, so it is great to be recognised for our achievement. Our aim is to remove all barriers for anyone wishing to play golf, whether a toddler or a granny, if they have golf clubs or not, everyone is welcome.
“We want to get families playing golf and try to remove any myths that this is an old-fashioned sport, so we just concentrate on making it fun
“Lochview was almost closed six years ago and North Lanarkshire Leisure invested a lot of money and time in it, and it’s now one of the most family-friendly facilities in this area.”
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