Thornton Golf Club hold their winter family golf programme at the golf range at nearby Cluny Clays in Fife. In addition to ClubGolf coaching, they introduced Get into Golf sessions in 2014.
The Get into Golf coaching is for the parents of juniors who have never played golf or are looking to get back into the sport. Mums and dads are not the only family members who are enjoying the sessions.
The programme runs on Tuesday evenings in two hour-long blocks, beginning at the end of October under the tuition of PGA professional Scott Gillespie, Keith Renton and the club’s team of PGA level one coaches. We have been finding out more from those taking part.
Scott Gillespie, PGA Professional:
“We have a few kids who have not hit a golf ball before, some have perhaps a year or two years ago so they’re just getting back into it. So we’ll get them started with holding a club, hitting some shots, keeping them warm, show them some exercises, keeping it nice and fun for them.
"After Christmas, we hope to have a few months preparing them for the golf course, so at the start of the season, we get them on the golf course and get them a handicap.
“Most of these adults have not played golf before. So if we can keep it fun and exciting and teach them the basics, they’ll pick it up just as quickly as the kids and from there, we want them to be on the golf course in spring time.”
John Anderson, Thornton Golf Club, Fife:
“This is our third year at Cluny. We do about 10 sessions per child and at the beginning of 2014 we introduced adults as well so we have families coming now, dads and mums coming along with their children, children whose first time this is to those who have been with the club for three years.
“After doing a certain amount of coaching they automatically get junior membership of the club which is free until they are aged 13. We have two groups on alternating weeks of around 40 adults and children in total.
“The challenge is how do we encourage them to join the club? Obviously it is a huge step from starting golf to becoming a full member because of the cost so we’re trying to find a way of allowing them to play on the course for a cost that’s manageable. So during the coaching period, they’re able to play a few holes on a Tuesday evening with the children or when the children are being coached and if they then want to play on the course they pay a guest fee of £10.
“The main thing is to bring golf to these youngsters but hopefully in the process we’ll start to build a stronger golf club.”
Father and son team from Glenrothes, Graeme Davidson, aged 41, and eight year-old Jack, are among those enjoying the sessions.
“I came along with Jack and thought I’d have a wee shot myself as I’ve not played much in the last 15 years so I thought if I’m coming along with him, I may as well have a shot myself and I’ve really enjoyed it.
“I played when I was a student and then when I was working, I was busy with other things so this is an opportunity to get back into it. I’ve learnt quite a lot from just two sessions. I’ve never had coaching before and I’ve only played one round of golf in the last 15 years.
“But I’ve really, really enjoyed this and it’s let me get back into to it as well as enjoy something with Jack, my son. I’ve enjoyed being told how to stand, the stance over the ball and I’ve picked up a lot already.”
And Jack thinks its “amazing” having his dad learning alongside him.
Another of the families taking advantage of Thornton’s winter coaching for families comprises mum Audrey Crombie, aged 48, her mother Amy Stuart, aged 72, who have come along with 10 year-old Thomas.
“Thomas came back from school in primary six last year with a letter from the golf club offering lessons so he was quite keen to take it up. So he came along and thoroughly enjoyed it.
"Six months into it, they opened it up to adults and I quite enjoyed coming with him so I thought I’d give it a try and mum’s always liked golf and wanted to learn so it was a great opportunity to get Grandma in on it as well. It’s frustrating but good fun.”
Amy: “It’s going better than it was!”
Thomas: “It’s quite good as I’ve played with my dad before I joined so when there was a tester at school, I thought I’d join as I really enjoyed it and it’s been good.
And what does Thomas think of having his mum and grandma along?
He did say it with a big smile on his face, as you can see in our video.
We’ll be back to Thornton towards the end of their winter coaching programme to see how it has gone, and if Thomas finds his Mum and Grandma any less embarrassing!