As the world’s top female professionals geared up for the Ricoh Women’s British Open at St Andrews, local girls were invited to spark their interest in the sport at a special clinic with Carly Booth and 2007 Solheim Cup captain Helen Alfredsson.
A total of 20 girl ClubGolfers from Tayside and Fife and a
further 20 juniors from St Andrews Links Trust Junior Golf
Association descended on the St Andrews Links Trust Driving Range
adjacent to the Old Course, where former Kraft Nabisco champion
Alfredsson and Booth, who played in her first LET event at the age
of 14, handed out valuable swing tips and on-course advice.
The aspiring young girls were welcomed to enjoy the hugely
beneficial session by Scotland's national junior golf programme,
ClubGolf, as part of its activities around the only women's major
on British soil. The event was organised by the Ladies Golfing
Union and global sports media organisation IMG, supported by St
Andrews Links Trust.
Booth, who was herself just the tender age of 15 when she
represented Great Britain and Ireland in the Curtis Cup, was
hopeful that having access to established female tour
professionals can inspire these youngsters to stay with golf for
the foreseeable future.
"I hope they learned a lot from us" said Booth, whose boyfriend
and fellow tour professional Tano Goya was also in attendance.
"We tried to give them as much info as we could to enjoy the
game. It is not always about the swing, it is about learning all
different kinds of shots. Especially being from Scotland, it's not
always about having the perfect swing but adapting to the weather
and hitting a variety of shots.
"As a ClubGolf ambassador, it's brilliant to see more and more
girls getting involved in golf. There were always very few girls
playing when I was growing up and I was always playing against boys
and a lot older girls and ladies, so it is nice to see so many
girls out here today trying to become golfers themselves."
Alfredsson was equally optimistic about the influence
professionals can have on children of all ages. She said: "For me,
clinics like this made me want to stay with golf. We travel all
over the world and meet lots of friends so you hope you would say
something that makes them think: 'That sounds so much fun.'
"But also we want them to see that golf can be fun. It's not all
about being serious, and that is the key ingredient. You have to
practice hard but you have to have fun, otherwise it is not going
The timing of the event could not have been better to build on
the burgeoning strength of the girls' game, with First Minister
Alex Salmond recently announcing that more than half of new junior
girl members in Scotland (61%) have come through the ClubGolf
Mr Salmond was given first-hand experience of the benefits of
girls being introduced to golf through ClubGolf when he played with
2013 Scottish Girls Champion Connie Jaffrey in the Ricoh Women's
British Open on Tuesday of championship week.
He was hugely impressed with the way Connie conducted herself on
the golf course and equally awed with the quality of her play,
which included no less than five birdies and a tee shot that earned
her longest drive amongst the female pro-am competitors at the
He said: "Connie is a lovely young girl with a great swing and
is full of promise. It was a great thrill for her to be playing in
the Ricoh Women's British Open Pro-Am in the Home of Golf.
"Hosting events like the Ricoh Women's British Open is great for
golf in Scotland. It's inspirational for so many girls across the
country to see the very best professionals in the world playing
here in Scotland and obviously provided a fantastic opportunity for
Connie, who did just great.
"This is a game for everyone and it has to be a game for
everyone, for men and women, young and old, and ClubGolf does a
great job in giving as many people as possible the opportunity to
experience this fantastic game."
Also in that group was top Scot and current world No.10 Catriona
Matthew, who, as a ClubGolf ambassador, is delighted to witness
talent like Connie and her North Berwick compatriot Clara Young
coming through the ranks.
"It was great to play with Connie, she played really well. It's
great to see these young girls coming through the ClubGolf ranks.
Connie has played really well and, with Clara Young from my club
North Berwick also doing well, it is great to see more girls coming
up and it's nice to be able to give them a bit of
"The work ClubGolf is doing is fantastic. It is difficult
knowing how to get girls involved in golf but ClubGolf has really
got it and is getting them started at an early age and ensuring
they have friends to play with, which is important.
"It's great to have a big event like the Ricoh Women's British
Open in Scotland. It is on TV and is getting a lot of media
attention with Inbee Park going for her fourth straight major. The
more media exposure the women's game can get the better."
>> Click here for images from the clinic and Connie Jaffrey's
The aim of ClubGolf is to create a development pathway from entry level through to the highest levels of achievement, enabling increased access to golf, higher participation levels, improved standards of performance, and sustained growth in the future.