Dumbartonshire club benefits from structured clubgolf programme
As part of its encouraging attitude to juniors, well meaning
members of Kirkintilloch Golf Club had previously been giving
coaching to children, albeit on an ad hoc basis.
When Peter Halkett took over as the club's Junior Convenor in
January 2008 one of his first tasks was to set up a structured
junior coaching programme. "At the time we had 80 boys and 10 girls
in the junior section and we wanted a coaching programme whereby
all our kids, no matter what their level, will have structured
coaching," he said.
By March 2008 five club members, including Mr Halkett, became
qualified clubgolf coaches after attending the two day coaching
course. In April the club opened its doors to the first group of 26
"Anybody, irrespective of their age, gender or personal ability
as a golfer can be a good coach," said Mr Halkett. "You just have
to be willing to give up some time to help give something back to
"Once you've been through the two day coaching programme,
delivered by the PGA, it makes it very easy to teach kids in the
format clubgolf want you to teach them (clubgolf provided the newly
trained coaches with coaching manuals and resources to deliver the
structured coaching programme).
" Putting their five members through a volunteer coach training
programme cost the Club £700. More was invested in providing junior
equipment. Yet, by charging children £20 a year for coaching the
Club will break even within just two years and produce revenue for
junior golf at the club thereafter.
The club's move to start a clubgolf programme coincided with a
surge of interest in golf in local primary schools - in 2008 over
1200 children across Dunbartonshire had an introduction to golf in
primary schools through clubgolf's introductory game,
Twenty six of them, boys and girls, enrolled for our first
clubgolf coaching course in 2008 (some them pictured below with
clubgolf volunteer coaches).
"The kids loved it, they're as keen as mustard and had an
absolute ball," said Mr Halkett. "Through clubgolf we took a group
of kids to Gleneagles and we took a couple to The Carrick for a
coaching clinic with Colin Montgomerie. So the kids are getting a
lot of benefits from clubgolf."
Plan for 2009
The 2009 plan is to expand its clubgolf coaching to include up
to 40 children. In addition the Club's volunteer coaches will be
targeting older children at the local high school.
"We'll be using the coaching skills we've learnt last year to
give a six week coaching course and out of that I'm hopeful some of
these kids will be keen to continue and come to our clubgolf
sessions from April to August," said Mr Halkett.
"The school has a host of kids at different levels. Some are
accomplished golfers with handicaps so we are organising a
competition for them as well.
" As a direct result of starting a clubgolf coaching programme,
Kirkintilloch has eight new junior members and expects to have as
many as 40 children on this year's coaching course starting in
April. Four more club members have shown an interest in becoming
The Club also plans to involve a PGA Professional in their
clubgolf programme - initially giving clubgolf Stage 2 then
eventually Stage 3 coaching - to enable them to offer a full
pathway for juniors.
"We all enjoyed coaching in 2008 and are looking forward to
getting up and running this year," added Mr Halkett, with a ringing
endorsement: "Any club that wants to enhance their junior section
will do themselves a lot of good in taking on clubgolf as part of
their coaching routine. It enhances the club's reputation and the
kids' performances, it's highly recommended by us."
Full interview with Peter Halkett, Junior Convenor at
Kirkintilloch Golf Club (January 2009)
Why did you look at clubgolf initially?
Some of our members did ad hoc coaching for the juniors and I
was keen to take that forward and start an organised and structured
coaching programme. The ball was already rolling prior to me
becoming Junior Convenor last January - our captain last year was
in discussion with clubgolf and the Club and committee is fully
supportive of our junior section.
What made you decide to start a clubgolf
We wanted a structured coaching programme whereby all our kids,
no matter what their level, will have structured coaching
programme. We started Stage 1 coaching in 2008. We're looking to
expand that over the next few years into Stages 2 and 3.
How healthy was your junior membership at the
Before clubgolf there were around 80 boys and 10 girls in the
junior section. As a result of the first year's clubgolf coaching
eight of the children have joined as junior members.
How easy was it to find volunteers to
People don't always understand what they're getting involved in
but once you sit them down and give them all the information
they're keen to get involved and help the juniors. We got five
coaches trained, one of them myself, by March last year and started
clubgolf April. We're looking at getting another four trained on
the Level 1 course next year so we can expand the coaching
What type of person makes a good volunteer
Anybody, irrespective of their age, gender or personal ability
as a golfer can be a good coach. You just have to be willing to
give up some time to help give something back to the kids. Once
you've been through the two day coaching programme it makes it very
easy to teach kids in the format clubgolf want you to teach them.
We all enjoyed coaching in 2008 and are looking forward to getting
up and running this year.
Who organises your clubgolf programme and how is the
It's all down to me as Junior Convenor. But as long as you know
what your intentions and goals are you sit down at the start of the
season with your coaches, get all your letters out telling parents
when it starts and what's available. After that we assign each
coach a group of children and it's relatively easy - it looks after
itself. Colin Bell (clubgolf's Argyll & Dumbartonshire Regional
Manager) has been a great help.
How many kids did you have on year 1
We had 26 kids, boys and girls, enrolled for our first clubgolf
coaching course in 2008. We're looking to expand that this year;
the course starts in April.
Did the kids enjoy clubgolf?
The kids loved it, they're as keen as mustard and had an
absolute ball. Through clubgolf we took a group of kids to
Gleneagles and we took a couple to The Carrick for a Colin
Montgomerie clinic. So the kids are getting a lot of benefits from
clubgolf. The kids on our clubgolf course all started with a
firstclubgolf introduction at school and wanted to move on and
learn more. So they are all keen to play.
Was it a financial burden?
The Golf Club paid coaching fees for five of us. It cost £700 to
get five coaches through and we spent a couple of hundred on all
the equipment. But you don't need a lot of children to recoup these
costs. We charge the kids £20 for the 20 hour course so if our
numbers remain in the high 20s we will break even at the end of
this year. We're hopeful to get numbers on the course to the high
30s maybe 40 this year. Then we will be generating some revenue for
Does Kirkintilloch have a Pro?
No, but we have plans in place where we can get access to a Pro.
We are looking to get clubgolf Stage 2 coaching started this year
with our existing juniors who are well beyond Stage 1. If we can
generate enough interest it will fund the cost of a Pro to deliver
Are your own coaches planning to progress their coaching
We are hoping to get one or two of us through the CPD course
next year; the additional coaching session that enhances your Level
1 status so you can teach further stages.
Any other developments planned for 2009?
We'll be using the coaching skills we've learnt last year to
teach an older age group at the local high school. We'll be giving
a six week coaching course and out of that I'm hopeful some of
these kids will be keen to continue and come to our clubgolf
sessions from April to August.
Who approached who?
We approached the school through the local Active Schools
Co-ordinator. They were delighted and quite happy to let the school
come in and do six sessions between February and March. We'll be
doing it indoors off golf mats with plastic balls initially and
then dividing children into coaching groups depending on their
ability. The school has a host of kids at different levels. Some
are accomplished golfers with handicaps so we are organising a
competition for them as well.
Would you have considered giving this type of coaching a
If the schools had approached us this time last year and asked
us to give their kids a six week coaching course we wouldn't be
comfortable doing that. It's purely because we did the two day
clubgolf training course, and coached the children at the club last
season, that we've developed the ability and confidence to go on
and teach kids in the high school. Your first year's clubgolf
programme has been a great success.
What's your message to other clubs out there that
haven't got involved yet?
Any club that wants to enhance their junior section will do
themselves a lot of good in taking on clubgolf as part of their
coaching routine. It enhances the club's reputation and the kids'
performances, it's highly recommended by us.