ClubGolf Camps sign-up launched for 2013

Eager young golfers between the ages of 9-13 are being invited to get involved in an exciting summer of golf by signing up for ClubGolf Camps from July 1-5.

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Launched for the first time last year, ClubGolf Camps were welcomed by 53 clubs around the country, providing almost 800 youngsters, some of whom were being introduced to golf for the first time, with the opportunity to enjoy a week-long programme of activities.

This year's event is set to be even bigger and better with 79 venues confirmed as host camps and the potential for around 1,200 junior golfers to sign-up.

Alternative dates have been scheduled for Grampian and South West regions, where the school term does not finish until later in the month.

Launched by Edinburgh and Scotland rugby star Greig Laidlaw, alongside two-time European Tour event winner Alastair Forsyth, ClubGolf Camps will run between 10am-2pm each day at a cost of £40 for the week.

Laidlaw, who was a member of his local club, Jedburgh, as a child, said: "I think I was about 15 before I really started thinking about turning professional, so a lot older than the kids taking part in ClubGolf Camps. Rugby itself had just turned professional a couple of years before and I thought: 'If I can stick in here, I can possibly become a professional rugby player.'

"If any of the kids taking part in ClubGolf Camps can decide to make a go of their golf, they could end up in a similar situation. You need a lot of dedication and hard work. No-one is born with natural ability to be world-class in any field, but that is a level they can get to if they go about things the right way.

"I definitely would have taken part in ClubGolf Camps as a kid. I loved getting outside and playing different sports, and golf was one of my favourite pastimes. I would encourage kids to give golf a try this summer and especially ClubGolf Camps, which look set to be a fantastic few days for everyone involved."

Having represented Scotland at boys, youths and senior levels, Forsyth knows better than most the commitment required from a young age among those looking to turn professional. He believes that ClubGolf Camps could inspire Scotland's youngsters to devote themselves to the game.

He said: "One of the biggest mistakes I made growing up was not going for coaching. I got taught the basics from my dad from the age of eight and then just progressed on my own until I got involved with the SGU and national coach Bill Lockie, who brought my game on immensely.

"If I had had more time with someone like that as a kid, I think I would have improved a little earlier. That's why I definitely would have been involved in ClubGolf Camps if we had them at my home club, Ralston, back then."

As well as progressive coaching using games-based activities, kids will receive a bag packed with fun golf gear and a Tee Time Taskbook, which they will use to log their progress throughout the week.

ClubGolf Camps will kick-start the 2013 ClubGolf Festival, which will run throughout the month July to encourage more children to get into golf and includes a mass participation event at Castle Stuart Golf Links during the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open.

Over 500 children are expected to attend ClubGolf @ the Castle, taking place on Wednesday July 10, one day before the flagship European Tour event commences over the Inverness-shire links. Other fun-filled activities are being scheduled for within the ClubGolf zone of the tented village during practice and tournament days.

ClubGolf Camps, however, will be the first port of call for juniors looking to get into golf this summer, with a week-long programme of tailored coaching activities designed to inspire their enthusiasm for the sport.

PGA-qualified professionals and coaches will deliver the sessions alongside volunteer coaches, both of whom are currently delivering the wider ClubGolf programme at clubs and facilities.

Daniel Wood, PGA professional at The Hirsel, the first golf club to sign up for 2013, said he can't wait until ClubGolf Camps get underway for another year.

"After the success of the 2012 camp, we are all very excited to host a ClubGolf Camp again. Last year was a great taster and, this year, we feel we can build on that and make it as fun and enjoyable an experience as possible for the children.

"The publicity was great, it allowed a wider audience of golfers to see what we were doing with the juniors at The Hirsel Golf Club. The camp has also helped to boost the participation in our weekly junior coaching sessions and, thanks to our membership offer, we have seen our junior numbers increase for the 2013 season."    

Gavin Abson, Head PGA Golf Professional at The Carrick on Loch Lomond, said he was thrilled at the prospect of hosting ClubGolf Camps for the first time in 2013, as one of the final venues to accept children for the week-long programme.

"Everyone at the club is really excited about welcoming kids for ClubGolf Camps.," he said. "It's a fantastic way of getting more kids into the game of golf and I think it will also help promote the additional programmes that we run at The Carrick on Loch Lomond.

"I'm sure kids will have great fun, which I believe is one of the most important factors when trying to entice young people to take up the sport. They will also learn lots of new skills and not only golf skills."

ClubGolf Manager, Jackie Davidson, expressed her satisfaction that 79 clubs have signed up as camp hosts.

She said: "We're delighted by the response from clubs wishing to host a camp this year. It's great to be able to offer wider opportunities for more young people across Scotland to get involved. 

"We hope that, with the huge amount of activity we are supporting during the month of July and with the major golfing events taking place this summer, youngsters will have fun and be inspired to continue to play golf."

First Minister Alex Salmond, a keen ClubGolf supporter, has given his backing to the busy calendar of summer events ahead.

He said:  "ClubGolf Camps will provide a great opportunity for children to get a first taste of golf and learn the skills that will hopefully get them hooked on the game.

"The clubs that took part in the week-long event last year have experienced many benefits in the months since, including increased membership, and I would encourage as many new clubs as possible to fill the available spots this time around.

"It promises to be a fun-filled week for all involved and is yet another reminder of all of the good work ClubGolf is doing at grassroots level to grow the game and get more young people playing golf."

To register your child for a place in ClubGolf Camps this year, or to find out where you nearest camp will be taking place, visit www.clubgolfscotland.com/camp2013.  Registration closes on June 9.

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