Only girls allowed for Paisley pro Claire-Marie

Paisley PGA Professional Claire-Marie Macaulay is giving local girls’ golf a boost by organising free of charge coaching sessions for youngsters keen to try the sport.

Macaulay, the wife of former European Tour golfer Callum, has established a ten-week programme for school-age girls, taking place at her home club.

Her goal is to give the youngsters, aging from 6-17, the skills to be able to further an interest in golf, ultimately in the hope that they will become members of a golf club in the future.

Social media advertising, as well as notifying members at Paisley Golf Club, has been a valuable tool in allowing Macaulay to organise two Saturday morning coaching sessions, while funding was provided by ClubGolf Regional Manager for the West, Craig Chalmers.

This, Macaulay explained, has helped to give a valuable first experience of golf to more girls than would have otherwise been possible.

"When I was younger, I had the opportunity to be coached, so I want to extend the same opportunity to these girls," said Macaulay.

"The best way I thought to do that was offer free coaching. Now we have two classes: the first is a primary school one and the second is for girls from high school.

"A free taster has allowed us to get more girls giving golf a go and it is always much easier to get girls interested when they are in a bigger group."

Six sessions have now taken place at Paisley and, following the festive break, four additional weeks have been scheduled for the early spring.

It is hoped that timing the end of coaching to coincide with the traditional beginning of the golf season will encourage the kids to take out their first ever golf club membership, whether that is as a member of Paisley or elsewhere.

This will also coincide with ClubGolf's £20 Junior Membership Offer, which could help to reduce the cost of ClubGolfers' first foray into a golf club by a considerable sum.

Encouraged by the progress already being made by her 20-strong group, Macaulay stressed the importance of offering an 'only girls allowed' introduction to golf.

"Some of the girls had never hit a golf ball before and some were genuinely shocked after the first week that they were able to hit it.

"The wee ones go straight in and don't care what they look like, but the older ones are a little more apprehensive.

"I think, being a female coach, they can relate to me a little better. I try to make it relaxed and fun, and it's good to see them joking around. I've been there and they feel like they don't need to hit it as well whereas, with a guy, they may be thinking they don't want to make a fool of themselves."

So far, Macaulay's coaching has focussed around the basic principles of putting, chipping, iron play and driving, with a view to having each girl playing at least one hole on the golf course by the end of the ten-week block.

Many have already surpassed the personal goal they set themselves at the outset and this, along with the support received from the club, gives Macaulay encouragement that it could see a boost in the number of female juniors visiting the club on a regular basis.

"The club thinks it's brilliant because the ladies section numbers have gone down and everyone wants to see more girls at the club.

"A few girls have already said they are going to join and, if they do, they will be joining as a group so they have people to play with, which is great.

"I'm hoping to do something similar again next year as many of the members are seeing the girls and thinking I might get my daughter or niece into that, so hopefully the word is spreading and it's something we find some success with."

ClubGolf Regional Manager for the West, Chalmers, is delighted the work Macaulay is doing has attracted great interest from girls in the local area and could help Paisley boost its young female members.

He hopes that the successful work being done at Paisley makes people aware of the need to create a social nature to coaching for girls.

"It's great to see the girls-only coaching sessions taking place at Paisley and Claire-Marie deserves a lot of credit for all of the hard work she has put in to make her idea a reality.

"In the vast majority of golf clubs across Scotland boys tend to outnumber girls by some way so we have to make sure we do as much as we can to make joining a golf club an inviting proposition for girls.

"Establishing girls-only coaching in order for them to build up a group of friends prior to joining the club, and giving them the skills they need to enjoy their golf if they do become members, seems like a great solution to this issue."


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