Maitland Pollock has been a member of Lochmaben Golf Club for many years serving as office bearer and on the committee. He has voluntarily coached and encouraged youngsters for the past 12 years.
“Gobsmacked! I just try to go about and do what I can and I didn’t think people thought that much of what I do. ”
Maitland has been responsible for the thriving junior golf programme at Lochmaben which has had enormous benefits for both the club where junior membership has increased especially over the past two years, and further afield by creating a sustainable future for the sport.
He has proactively built strong and tangible links with the Active School & Community Sport team, knocking on doors at schools near and far to develop the sport in order to benefit other clubs, with many youngsters from after school and curricular programmes progressing to local golf clubs over many years.
Along with multiple weekly coaching sessions organised around his day job as a postman, Maitland runs a number of local events at his club to provide competition for juniors with numbers competing increasing year on year. He is also instrumental in helping with the local authority flag golf competition which has seen participation for 5-12 year-olds grow by 50% over three years with more than 125 young people competing.
He regularly organises trips to allow large groups to experience and be motivated by national and international golfing events, fund raising to pay for transport to make it accessible for all sectors of the local community.
In 2014 he organised the first ClubGolf camp at Lochmaben which was attended by 12 children and a number of committee members who wanted to assist the coach for the first time. Maitland set up an indoor skills test for the final day when the weather was bad, but the campers just wanted to go out and play their Ryder Cup themed competition which is testament to Maitland’s ethos of ‘it never rains on the golf course’!
Maitland has increased participation through a number of other initiatives. He was instrumental in launching the Active Start programme in Annandale & Eskdale that encourages under fives to make their first steps into sport and physical activity, promoting golf as great way to stay active and learn life skills through the game’s rules and etiquette. He organised successful coaching for both adults and children as part of the “Day of the Region” project which encourages activity, participation and links within and between communities.
Maitland has funded his coaching qualifications from level one in 2007 to level three, doing everything he can to benefit those he coaches. He is seen as an ideal mentor for new and developing coaches who learn a great deal by working beside him, and is respected by fellow golfers, coaches, teachers, sports officers, and parents who are happy to leave their children in his capable hands.
Nothing is ever too much for Maitland, an enthusiastic and dedicated individual who loves golf and introducing young people to the game. He is recognised by those who know him as a real ambassador for the sport without whose commitment and volunteer coaching, golf and club membership in Annandale & Eskdale and in Dumfries & Galloway would be poorer.
Maitland was “gobsmacked” when he heard he had been nominated for the award. He said:
“I’m not often lost for words but I was taken aback when I heard. I just try to go about and do what I can and I didn’t think people thought that much of what I do. Someone has to do it, and I enjoy doing it, so I do what I can.”
“It has turned into a hobby with my wife doing the paperwork which allows me to concentrate on the coaching. It takes up a tremendous amount of time but we enjoy it. I love coaching the kids seeing their faces when they first hit the ball and then when they get it up in the air for the first time. I’m now offering teaching to older juniors too, and have been asked to go to other clubs because I’m a Level Three coach. If they don’t get help, they’ll just walk away from the game so the onus is on us.
“We’re in a time when golf is still seen as an elite, rich sport by some, but we’re not as well off as people think we are. There was a huge gap in club membership with the biggest group being the seniors so I decided to do something about it when I was captain in 2006.”
The former Portsmouth and Queen of the South player had the chance to walk away from football when he was 20 to become an assistant golf professional. He said:
“I played against and with the best in football, but golf has taken over my life and I wish I’d perhaps done something with it when I had the chance when I was younger.
“I still love playing more than anything, but you have to put something back in. I don’t do it for awards like this, I do it because I love golf and I love the club.”