Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Lothianburn wins Scottish Hydro Challenge clubgolf Pro-Am

Sixty volunteer clubgolf coaches from as far afield as Reay and Stranraer took part in the Scottish Hydro Challenge clubgolf Pro-Am on Monday on the magnificent Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Course.
Preceding the Scottish Hydro Challenge, which will be played over the same course this week, the Pro-Am was a reward for volunteer coaches who are playing an essential part in the clubgolf programme.
On a course which has emerged spectacularly from the hard winter still evident on the overlooking Cairngorms, Edinburgh’s Lothianburn released the grip that Grampian clubs had held on this popular event for three years.
Accompanied by Scottish professional Elliot Saltman, the team came in with a superb better-ball score of 58, one point ahead of a composite team from the West; Cowal, Bishopbriggs and Vale of Leven. Behind them, in third to fifth places respectively and all on 60, were Kemnay, Comrie, and a combined Kingsnowe/Turnhouse.
“You watch the pros on television but it’s completely different playing with them and we were fortunate getting Elliot,” said Lothianburn’s Alan Greenshields, who played with fellow club volunteer coaches, Gareth Jack and Hazel Carpenter.
“He is a quality player, very impressive and encouraging, and this is something that will be useful for us to take back to the kids on our clubgolf programme.
“It’s a good story because he is from our area and was a member of our club for a period of time. We can say to our kids that if you stick in at your golf, here is something you can aspire to.”
Professionals were assigned to clubgolf teams at random and there was a high turnout from Scots; the list included Fraser Cromarty, Gavin Dear, Jack Doherty, Paul Doherty, Steven Duncan, John Gallagher, Lee Harper, Scott Henderson, Chris Kelly, Mark Kerr, Craig Lee, Kevin McAlpine, Jason McCreadie and Keir McNicoll.
The irony of finding himself accompanying Lothianburn was not lost on Elliot Saltman. “This is the club where we grew up and played, where my brothers and I were members so it was great to play with these guys,” he said.
“They were great company. We all played well, put in as many birdies and eagles as we could, stuck in as a team and we got the job done with a great score.
“This was the first time I had played the course and, with the weather we’ve had, seeing it in such fantastic condition is a great eye opener to what’s going to follow this week.
“Alan was helping me because he has played here a couple of times, so I was asking his advice.”
Eliott was full of praise for the club’s efforts to introduce a new generation of primary school aged golfers to the game through clubgolf.
"I started golf aged 16 and I wish I had started younger,” he said. “If you get led on the right path at a young age you will only get better.
“The volunteer coaches are doing a great job bringing on youngsters and it takes a lot of hard work and a lot of coaching. I’m sure there are a lot of youngsters out there that will go on to bigger and better things. It’s like everything, once you put the effort in there’ll be a result at the end and I think it should be done a lot more. The more volunteers involved the better it will be for the future.”
Each Lothianburn member wins dinner and B&B for four at Macdonald Spey Valley plus golf at Spey Valley.
Said clubgolf Project Manager, Torquil McInroy: “This was a great opportunity for clubgolf to give something back to the volunteer coaches that give up their time for the good of junior golf and we are delighted with how it went.
“Our 60 volunteer coaches had a great day out on a wonderful course, followed by dinner at the Macdonald Aviemore Highland Resort. We would like to thank EventScotland and the European Challenge Tour for their continued support in providing a wonderful day out for our clubgolf volunteer coaches during their championship week.”
clubgolf’s involvement at the Scottish Hydro Challenge Tour Event will continue through the week. On Thursday and Saturday over 100 children on clubgolf programmes at schools and clubs in Highland will be given a unique opportunity to watch European Challenge Tour players and take part in coaching clinics with resident PGA Professional, Murray Urquhart and players from the European Challenge Tour.
For full results and photo gallery go to: http://www.clubgolfscotland.com/

Caption for picture by Rob Eyton-Jones at the top of the storyTriumphant Lothianburn (left to right): Gareth Jack (Lothian GC clubgolf coach), Elliot Saltman, Murray Urquhart (Spey Valley PGA Professional), Sally Stewart (European Challenge Tour Project Manager), Alan Greenshields (Lothian GC clubgolf coach), and Hazel Carpenter (Lothian GC clubgolf coach), Torquil McInroy (clubgolf Project Manager)

Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager



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