Golf is not just a summer sport

When Colin Montgomerie launched the national junior golf programme, ClubGolf, in 2003, its target was to give every child in Scotland the opportunity to experience golf by the age of nine.

Summer -sport

What at the time seemed a highly ambitious goal is now becoming a real possibility.  Through ClubGolf the game now has a regular slot on primary school curriculums; 220,000 primary school children have been introduced to golf at school, 37,790 of them in 2011 alone. 

For the new generation of keen young golfers, engaged and enthused at school and champing at the bit to play what many had thought was a previously inaccessible game, this is just the start.  

Since it began, well over 12,000 children are now in ClubGolf coaching programmes at 311 supporting clubs and facilities across Scotland.

The direct benefits for clubs are more children playing golf, more active junior club members and a larger pool of well-coached youngsters, and of course higher new revenue streams.

"ClubGolf has given us a structured approach to everything we do," said Billy Campbell, Captain and ClubGolf Level 1 coach at Kirkintilloch Golf Club in Glasgow.

"We have everything mapped out over the three levels of coaching and we now have a proper coaching manual to follow. 

"We have almost 70 kids coming to coaching over two nights.  We've picked up junior members and we are constantly getting parents asking if their children can join."

It's a similar story in other parts of Scotland.  Reay Golf Club in Caithness, on board with ClubGolf from the very start, celebrated last month when an unprecedented five of its ClubGolfers were invited to join the Scottish Golf Union's North District squad.

"ClubGolf has provided the structure and stepping stones that has allowed Caithness junior golf to flourish," said the club's delighted head coach, Evan Sutherland. 

Elsewhere, spectacular results are being achieved in a short space of time.  In 2011, its first year offering ClubGolf, Hawick Golf Club in the Scottish Borders attracted 75 new young golfers to the game and more than trebled the club's junior membership.

"It just shows what you can actually achieve if you're prepared to work hard and work with your Active Schools Coordinator and ClubGolf Manager," said the club's Level 2 volunteer coach, David Wilson.

2011 was important to ClubGolf for many reasons and another major milestone was attracting big-name commercial sponsors. 

This summer, The Royal Bank of Scotland agreed a three-year partnership with Scottish Golf to support ClubGolf and as part of this agreement, the world's greatest-ever player Jack Nicklaus became ClubGolf's first official Ambassador.

Highland Spring, another iconic Scottish brand, is also newly on board as a supporting partner.  Completing a trio of recent sponsorships agreements, Gleneagles Hotel raised £19,500 for ClubGolf. through the proceeds of its Johnnie Walker Championships' £5 Friday initiative.

A final stamp of approval in August confirmed the programme's future when First Minister Alex Salmond announced the government's investment into ClubGolf until 2018,

Key to ClubGolf's success are the clubs and their facilities, allied to the tremendous efforts of qualified volunteer coaches and PGA Pros, supported by club committees, secretaries and fellow members. 

Between them they are encouraging juniors by tackling traditional thinking and barriers, making junior memberships more flexible, developing junior facilities indoors and out, encouraging more girls to play and increasing opportunities for children with disabilities.  

With hundreds of thousands more children due to be introduced to ClubGolf at school, is your club prepared to invest in its future and benefit from a partnership with ClubGolf?

 

 

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