Pitlochry Golf Club's youth programme has grown impressively every year since the club's hard working Pro Mark Pirie started a junior revolution in 2007.
Having broken new ground in both volume and performance of young
players, Pirie, PGA Pro at the club for a decade, is planning to
recruit more youngsters through an open day next month.
This will be a continuation of the work Pirie started when he
teamed up with teachers and Active Schools Co-ordinators schools
five years ago to deliver ClubGolf to hundreds of children in eight
"On the back of that relationship I have with the local schools,
from right across the area, we have picked up a lot of junior
members," he said.
"ClubGolf has given us excellent backing through advertising,
marketing and equipment and without that we wouldn't be anywhere
near as far as we are now."
Pirie's schools coaching was the first level of a programme which
gives children a taste for golf, then welcomes them to the club and
guides them through a structured programme.
"The schools coaching is all about introducing children from a
large area to golf and spreading the word about the coaching we
offer at the club," said Mark, who as a result has built his club's
junior numbers to 45 younger children and well over a dozen who
hold an official CONGU handicap.
"The sort of mentality I'm looking for are the children that come
to the club for an hour's coaching and will then go out and
practice by themselves. The onus is very much on them and the
majority of the youngsters that are joining now are those that are
keen to learn and have the motivation to keep coming back."
Amongst those that have been on the programme longest is a core of
players who are reaching a high level of ability. With full
council backing, the club is looking to create a support package of
discretionary grants to enable these juniors to play in open
Eight qualified ClubGolf volunteer coaches help deliver the
coaching under Pirie's guidance. Until now he was the only
PGA Pro working in Highland Perthshire, but Pirie will bolster his
coaching team this month with the arrival of Graeme Leggat,
originally from Blairgowrie and qualified PGA Pro for almost
The club is also planning to improve its facilities so that
coaching can continue in all weathers. They have applied for
funding for a covered driving range, a nine hole par three course
and to make junior friendly improvements to the course.
In an effort to bring in more juniors Pirie is planning an open
day on Sunday 15 April for new and current juniors, with a range of
coaching for every level and lots of competitions for those that
turn up on the day.
"There are six courses in Highland Perthshire and we are the only
one which has the scale of junior coaching is happening simply
because of our facilities and our coaching structure." added
"We are a family orientated club so we do an awful lot for the
juniors and the Open Day will be an opportunity for us to tell the
story of what Pitlochry has to offer for the kids"