For Ratho Park Golf Club, 2014 was a year of firsts for their ClubGolf programme, and month on month, they had a steady flow of youngsters from coaching join the club as junior members.
“I’m delighted for the coaches to get this recognition. The commitment is all worthwhile and the coaches find it extremely rewarding."
Ratho Park’s year began with their winter ClubGolf sessions on Friday afternoons when schools close early and every other Sunday, with around 10 children regularly taking part, seven of which joined the club.
In February, their coaches went out to primary schools to help teach the basics of the game. The coaching team was boosted with two volunteers successfully gaining their PGA level 1 qualification, bringing the number of coaches to 10, who were assisted during the year by several helpers and the club’s assistant professional.
The following month saw the number of ClubGolf juniors joining the club also rise to 10, with three members of the same family – a first for the club – coming along to coaching, two sisters at beginner and level one and their brother at level two.
Come April, 39 youngsters attended the three weekly sessions of Clubgolf coaching held over two evenings, with the club’s council agreeing to close off the first three holes at these times, as the number of new junior members rose to 12.
For the third year running the club held a family barbecue evening in May, giving parents, brothers and sisters a chance follow the ClubGolfers around each coaching “station” to see what the youngsters do each week. Parents were then encouraged to take part in a mini competition before everyone enjoyed the food on offer!
By the end of their spring session in June, the coaches saw progress at all levels of ability, and their junior membership from the ClubGolf programme rose to 18.
This was the first year the club offered their ClubGolfers a chance to play with the coaches and members throughout the summer in an effort to gain a handicap, which in the heat of July, eight youngsters achieved. A request was put to the club council to consider placing junior tees throughout the course and setting up a junior committee.
The club enlisted the help of parents to take a group of youngsters to the Ladies Scottish Open at Archerfield in August to enjoy a coaching masterclass with some of the Ladies European Tour players. Ratho Park held their first ever ClubGolf medal for the youngsters who had gained their handicap, who played behind the more experienced junior members to help settle their nerves on the tee.
In September, 25 parent and child teams took part in a Ryder Cup-style competition when the emphasis was on fun. Chipping, pitching and Mum’s putting competitions, alongside the big match, were followed by a meal and prize giving in the clubhouse, with fancy golf hats and Ryder Cup quizzes thrown in. A busy month also featured a trip to the real event at Gleneagles, and they held a second ClubGolf medal.
A first-ever ‘formal’ End of Season meeting was held in October to which family members and club Captains were invited. One of the ClubGolfers came second in the junior medal. The number of junior members joining from ClubGolf rose to 22 with three parents also becoming members.
The club’s council approved the junior tees in November, which are being placed during the winter and the winter golf programme has begun again with 15 youngsters taking part on a regular basis, higher than the figure a year earlier. A friendly match has been organised with Dundas Parks to keep the youngsters playing over the winter.
The ClubGolf coaches have now met to plan 2015, which includes the setting up of a junior committee and to review what has been a great year of growth, in which 22 players from the coaching programme became junior members of Ratho Park Golf Club.
Liz Robinson ClubGolf Coordinator, said:
“We’re delighted to be one of the four finalists for the RBS award as it’s a vindication of all the hard work that’s gone on.
"This is our fifth year of ClubGolf but everything came together last year as our most successful ever with youngsters earning their handicaps and seeing real progress in their golf. Even their parents are now joining the club.
“I’m delighted for the coaches to get this recognition. The commitment is all worthwhile and the coaches find it extremely rewarding.
"As far as I’m concerned we’re already winners as we get £500 and the kids are delighted too.”