Ranfurly Castle Golf Club, Junior Club of the Year
When Michael McCabe took on the Ranfurly Castle's Junior
Convenor role in 2006 there were less than 15 juniors playing
regularly at the club.
Juniors had not been given ample opportunities to play in
competitions. There had been many years when the club had been "in
the wilderness, winning nothing at all".
The club established a three year strategy to ensure the junior
section was being run effectively and successfully. Ambitious plans
needed a structured approach.
The juniors were allowed to form a committee of seven, empowering
them to make decisions. Their feedback was passed through the
Junior Convenor for his presentation to the Board of Directors.
The Junior Convenor's role was developed by appointing three
deputies, all volunteers within the club, to take individual
responsibility for junior golf development, the junior team and
administration. Acting as the hub for information, the Junior
Convenor would feed back on all three areas to the Board of
By training Level 1 coaches it would be ideally placed to
attract these local school children for coaching on its nine hole
course adjacent to the main course. By opening up the coaching to
non-members, the club could attract young members who might
otherwise have gone to play elsewhere.
The starting point was to roll out clubgolf Stage 1 coaching to
8-12 year olds. This was accomplished after 11 club members became
qualified coaches on the Level 1 course. To maintain continuity and
interest the club's assistant professional, as part of his own
training, leads these children through the next stage of the
At the same time Ranfurly Castle juniors were encouraged to
enter competitions, with the emphasis on enjoyment.
To encourage junior integration the Board, in 2008, allowed
juniors with single figure handicaps to compete in most of the
adult competitions. Eight juniors are now eligible to compete
alongside the club's full members.
In recognition of the junior section's success the Board, in
2008, decided to increase the one official Junior medal per month
to two, and hold extra competitions during quieter periods. As well
as giving the juniors more time for competition this had the added
benefit of making the course busier and increasing useage of the
The club had identified its nine hole course as the ideal
facility to make the game more accessible to the local community.
Large improvements to the course were planned and the club was
prepared to make a financial commitment to ensure it happened. A
grant was awarded by the Lottery Fund in the sum of £25,000. This
project is ongoing.
Meanwhile the main course has a measured Blue Tee course for
those with handicaps higher than 36, allowing those juniors
progressing through clubgolf coaching appropriate and manageable
access to the golf course.
To integrate and give juniors a sense of belonging, the club
asked them to volunteer to help seed divots during the season. As a
thank you the club staged a golf themed quiz night. Twenty two
juniors volunteered and performed an excellent job.
The club sees juniors as its life blood for future years and
much progress has been made in properly integrating them into the
The club's junior boys beat title holders, Greenock GC in the
final of The Newton Shield, the junior area team championships for
Renfrewshire Golf Union, a feat they last accomplished in 1994. The
club feels this is a direct result of the clubgolf coaching given
by its 12 Level 1 coaches and the club professional.
Prior to competing for the Newton Shield the junior boys took on
a Captains Elect team, comprising two professionals and eight
members with handicaps between three and nine. Playing from the
medal tees, the juniors won 8-2.
Of the 31 boys selected for Renfrewshire Golf Union's 2008
coaching squads, six of them were from Ranfurly Castle Golf Club.
Of the nine juniors selected for the SGU's 2008 Coaching Academy
Squad, five are from Ranfurly Castle Golf Club.
In 2008 the junior team secured a two year sponsorship deal with
local business, Brookfield Electrical Group, which helped fund team
kit and travel to competitions in the Renfrewshire area.
In March 2009 Ranfurly Castle was crowned Junior Club of the
Year after a close race with five other shortlisted clubs.
Individual player achievements
Fourteen year old Rory McKinnon, one of the club's younger
juniors, won the Dunfermline Building Society Junior Masters at
Gleneagles in 2008
Sam Binning enjoyed a phenomenal 2008. Now aged 18 he began 2008
playing off a handicap of 2 and ended it at +2. Notable
achievements were: French Boys Championship, last 16; McEvoy
Trophy, seventh; Scottish Boys Strokeplay, second; Scottish Area
Team Championship, a member of the Renfrewshire team which finished
second; Renfrewshire Men's Order of Merit, sixth; member of
Scotland team in the Home Internationals; member of Renfrewshire
Boys' Team; member Year 4 SGU Academy.
Sam's younger brother, Jamie, also performed well throughout
2008. Notable achievements were: Elderslie Boys Open, winner; St
Andrews Boys Open, semi-finalist; member of Renfrewshire Boys Team;
member Year 3 SGU Academy.
Sam and Jamie's younger brother, Tom (14), also did well. He is a
member of both the Renfrewshire Boys Team and Year 1 SGU
Natasha Quyum (15) was selected by the SLGA for its Scottish
Junior Performance Training Squad. In 2008 Natasha: was Vice
Captain of the West of Scotland Girls Golfing Association; trained
with Renfrewshire Ladies County Team; won the West of Scotland
Girls Medal Final; was selected to represent the West of Scotland
Girls Team at the SLGA Inter-divisional matches at Balumbie Castle;
with her playing partner won the Jean McCulloch 4somes Trophy at
West Kilbride; was part of the West of Scotland Girls team which
beat East Girls for the Mhari McKay Trophy. Natasha's handicap
dropped from nine to seven last season.