Tuesday, February 28, 2012


ClubGolf volunteer coaches from RBS Awards shortlisted Kemnay GC celebrate the opening of the   club's new practice facility last summer with Paul Lawrie.
                       Image by Rob Eyton-Jones

Four golf clubs and three volunteers at the forefront of junior development in Scotland have made the shortlist for the RBS Junior Club and Volunteer Awards, to be presented at next month’s prestigious Scottish Golf Awards.
Following a thorough evaluation by ClubGolf’s judging panel the four clubs (from a total of 29 nominated) making the cut for the RBS Junior Club of the Year are:
Dollar GC (Clackmannanshire)
Dundas Parks GC (West Lothian)
Kemnay GC (Aberdeenshire)
Maybole GC (South Ayrshire).
The three volunteers shortlisted for the RBS Volunteer Award category are:
Iain Holt (Turnhouse GC, Midlothian)
Iain Ross (Inverness GC, Highland)
Sandra Ross (Rosehearty GC, Aberdeenshire).
All seven finalists, who have demonstrated enormous commitment and resourcefulness in developing their junior sections, have been invited to the showcase Scottish Golf Awards dinner at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow on Friday, March 23.
Hosted by BBC commentator Andrew Cotter, anchor for last season’s Masters, Open Championship and Walker Cup broadcasts, the Awards will celebrate the achievements of golfers and golf clubs across Scotland, raising funds to develop the country’s young golfers.
The winners will receive their prizes - £1,000 for RBS Junior Club and £500 for RBS Volunteer of the Year - alongside the biggest names in Scottish Golf. Former Open Champion Paul Lawrie and Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie attended last year.
“RBS is delighted with the response in what is our first year sponsoring these awards,” said Suzanne Williamson, Sponsorship Manager for RBS.
“With so many applications, we have seen some fantastic examples of good practise and innovation from the nominated volunteers and ClubGolf delivery centres. We thank all applicants and wish the short-listed candidates the best of luck.”
All seven finalists are offering the RBS-supported national junior programme, ClubGolf. Through this flourishing programme more than 12,675 children are now active in ClubGolf coaching at 311 clubs in Scotland, with an army of 1,575 hard-working volunteer coaches giving up their time to work with the youngsters.
“The RBS Junior Club and Volunteer Awards are a fabulous tribute to the hundreds of clubs and thousands of volunteers across Scotland making junior golf a priority,” said ClubGolf Manager, Jackie Davidson.
“Thank you to everyone for submitting nominations and well done to the four clubs and three volunteers who have been selected for the shortlist.”
To find out more about each club’s achievements see case studies below.
Tickets to the Scottish Golf Awards event cost £75 per person, or tables of 10 can be purchased at £700 (including VAT). You can buy your tickets on-line via the Scottish Golf Shop at www.scottishgolf.org or call the Ticket Hotline on 01334 466477.


Kemnay GC (Aberdeenshire)
First offering ClubGolf coaching in 2004, Kemnay Golf Club in Aberdeenshire was one of the first in Scotland to see the benefits of offering structured coaching.
The club forged links with the local primary schools offering ClubGolf’s introductory game, and children who had never played the game became involved. Word spread of the coaching and children came to coaching from a 10 mile radius. Offering membership to children between seven and 11 years old has removed a significant barrier to participation.
Such is the success of Kemnay’s ClubGolf programme that junior coaching numbers increased steadily to the point where, in 2009, it reached a ceiling with 40 children.
The limiting factor was not a shortage of coaching staff – the club having invested heavily in 20 qualified volunteer coaches – but a lack of suitable practice facilities.
Seeing investment in physical infrastructure as increasingly vital, the club invested £126,000 in a new facility, which enabled the purchase and development of 10 acres of adjoining farmland. This investment was supported by a £46,000 award, through sportscotland’s Building for Sport programme.
The new facility, opened in 2011 by Paul Lawrie MBE, is a six-hole par three mini course, with holes between 100 and 150 yards long, a short game practice area, with covered driving bays and artificial mats, and a full size green and bunkers for short game practice. sportscotland worked with the club and ClubGolf’s Regional Manager to develop the project.
The new facility enhances the club’s coaching structure from absolute beginner, through to junior, youth and beyond to adult membership.
“Seven years ago we didn't have a junior section, there were no junior competitions, no organised junior coaching at all,” said Club Captain Craig Sangster.
“Then Richard Temple took over as junior convenor and together with our volunteer coaches has pumped new life into it. We are already seeing juniors that started seven years ago coming through and playing in the adult competitions. Over the next two or three years we expect one or two of the juniors to contend for the club championships.”

Maybole GC (South Ayrshire)
Staff and members at South Ayrshire’s Maybole Golf Club have fought tooth and nail to keep the club and its junior membership growing.
When the local authority-owned clubhouse was due to be condemned, they rallied and renovated it, providing the equivalent of £26,000 of man hours for free, raising £6000 for materials.
A ‘Golf South Ayrshire’ 9-hole course, Maybole is the epitome of the term ‘community club’.
Working with ClubGolf and the Active Schools network for six years the club has six Level 1 coaches and 84 children - 58 boys and 26 girls - registered on its ClubGolf programme.
The initial 12 players have all gained handicaps and compete in club competitions. One of them is enjoying success and was selected for the county girls team.
The club’s volunteer coaches have done a fine job, taking a growing number of juniors to a stage where professional input is essential. There is no resident professional but a pro at a club nearby has been supporting Maybole ClubGolf programme.
The club’s coaches, along with South Ayrshire Council Community safety department, have since 2008 run the Fairways Forward Golf Initiative, a South Ayrshire Council funded programme aimed at diverting young people away from antisocial behaviour by involving them in organised golf in their communities. A number of the participants have since taken up golf and engaged further with the club for more coaching..
The club, which re-established a junior section last summer for the first time since 2000, is now developing the concept of a junior golf Academy, with plans to secure land adjoining the course to restructure the course and provide dedicated facilities to further develop junior coaching.
With further projects in the pipeline the club’s steering group has helped secure grants for £18,500.

Dundas Parks GC (West Lothian)
The club, one of the newest in West Lothian to join ClubGolf, shows what can be achieved in a short space of time with the right people on board and a good plan.
Two years ago the club’s junior numbers had dropped below 50, there were no girl members, funds were dwindling and equipment was non-existent. At the end of last season the club had six qualified volunteer coaches, it was working in local primary and secondary schools, whilst at the club had 30 children on Stage 1 and 2 ClubGolf programmes. Many of them joined the club.
Teaming up with ClubGolf, Active Schools and two local professionals, the club had at last count 30 children on its ClubGolf coaching, 21 of them becoming members. Organising ClubGolf festivals for local primary schools at a nearby recreation centre helped energise over 300 children, whilst club open days have proved effective in attracting families. Twenty adults have since become members.
Not content with targeting just primary children, the club is working with local secondary schools to provide after school programmes, along the same lines as its ClubGolf programme, after three members attended a training workshop.
Energy and innovation has been key to the club’s rapid and sustainable growth.
To keep its juniors engaged and progressing it sets aside practice areas and holes exclusively for coaching and regular competitions. The ClubGolf coaches have successfully bid for awards to purchase equipment and pay for coach education.
Working tirelessly to ensure youngsters can continue golf year round, it has introducing winter coaching for Stage 2 and 3 juniors at Heriot Watt University Indoor Golfing Facility. Plans are afoot to start developing practice facilities.
As a direct result the Dundas Parks junior team came third in the Linlithgowshire league, its highest ever finish. And one of its juniors has been accepted onto Lothian's coaching programme.
The club’s objective by 2014 is to have 90 junior members. They are well on the way with a current and active junior membership of 75.
“For a club to offer programmes for both younger and older children and to integrate their existing junior members into that coaching, all in less than two years and without a resident pro, is no mean feat,” said ClubGolf Regional Manager, Laura Rushby.

Dollar GC (Clackmannanshire)
From the mid 2000s Dollar juniors enjoyed considerable success at county and national levels, but at the same time its grass roots activity had almost ceased.
The club had, in the words of its junior convenor, Donald Malcolm “lost a generation as a result of doing things the old way”.
Just in time it realised a modern approach was needed to bring in a young golfers and has since made a remarkable turnaround.
With full backing of its council and membership Dollar came on board with ClubGolf, adopting a raft of modern, junior-friendly measures and incentives.
Its first ClubGolf coaching session attracted just one child but as word got around numbers grew steadily and by the end of the year junior membership had grown by 83 percent to 52. A further jump followed in 2011 with junior membership increasing by 15 percent and over half the membership involved in coaching. Efforts to attract more females have paid off with girls making up 24 percent of junior membership.
‘ClubGolf coaching achieved astonishing results’, said Donald but coaching is not the be all and end all at Dollar; the club has gone the extra mile in other directions.
Working with ClubGolf’s Regional Manager and Active Schools the club has made good connections with local schools, Dollar Academy and Strathdevon School. It has an agreement with the Academy to use its rugby pitches to teach the full swing.
Introducing new, affordable membership categories has attracted children and their families.
Ten members have become Level 1 coaches and they overcame the lack of resident pro, by joining ClubGolf’s mentoring and support programme, led by Callendar pro, Allan Martin.
Applying successfully for funding enabled the club to enlist the support of a local PGA Pro.
There’s a new optimism at Dollar, linked to loosening of old rules and a change of attitude towards juniors. They have worked on their constitution, which had previously been quite strict but as an example now allows juniors with a handicap, as opposed to a single figure handicap, to play with adults in our adult competitions.
Innovation is a constant theme at Dollar. To help juniors become better players it has created a Mini course, superimposing nine par 3 holes on the main course, encouraging youngsters to play more competitions and gain handicaps.

Iain Holt, ClubGolf Co-ordinator, Turnhouse GC (Midlothian)
In 2005 Turnhouse became the first club in Edinburgh to offer ClubGolf coaching, encouraged by Iain, its junior convenor at the time.
Under his leadership and astonishing commitment the programme has flourished. Seventy two children attend six coaching sessions a week, organised and led by Iain and his team. The club pro is also on board, teaching the latter stages of the ClubGolf programme and running summer and autumn camps. Many of these children have become club members.
Such numbers would not be possible without a strong network of qualified volunteer coaches and support of the pro. Iain’s enthusiasm and commitment, coupled with the 10 hours plus a week he devotes to the programme, has helped attract and retain 16 volunteer coaches, many of whom have stayed with the programme since the start.
Having Turnhouse offering an extensive and successful ClubGolf programme has been instrumental in bringing every local primary school on board to deliver ClubGolf’s introductory game.
Working with the ClubGolf Regional Manager, Iain has not only forged strong links with these schools but plays an important role in the schools game locally, encouraging and helping school teachers to deliver.
ClubGolf coordinator at Turnhouse since 2005, Iain has found a way to keep ClubGolf coaching going year-round, using the indoor facility at Herriot Watt University. He also helped secure £40,000 funding from BAA Edinburgh and sportscotland for practice facilities and equipment.
Always at the forefront of innovation Iain took part in professional-volunteer coach development sessions at the Johnny Walker Championships. He recently attended ClubGolf secondary schools deliverer training to enable him to set up links with nearby schools.
Well known in the East of Scotland as ‘Mr ClubGolf’ Iain's influence has spread far beyond his own club. A member of the ClubGolf's task force since the start, he is a regular supporter of ClubGolf by coaching at major events across Scotland.
He has also encouraged other clubs to deliver the ClubGolf programme and has mentored and guided other golf clubs, the list including Blairgowrie, Ratho Park and Broomieknowe.

Sandra Ross, ClubGolf Co-ordinator, Rosehearty GC (Aberdeenshire)
Rosehearty Golf Club’s ClubGolf Co-ordinator Sandra Ross has not let any barriers stand in the way of offering an excellent junior programme.
When six years ago, after seeing a ClubGolf presentation, there was a shortage of funds to pay for herself and a fellow member to attend ClubGolf’s Level 1 training course, she organised and took part in a day-long 59 hole golfathon at the nine hole course near Fraserburgh, raising £600 to pay for the course and essential equipment.
Some years later, her growing ClubGolf programme now well-established, yet with no bunker on the course, she found a way to complete the clubgolf syllabus and its bunker module, by taking the children to a nearby beach and teaching them to hit balls on the sand.
Last summer, working with ClubGolf Regional Manager Audra Booth and sportscotland, she found a long term solution by successfully applying for an Awards for All grant of £10,000. Combined with a further £5,000 self generated through a fundraising campaign, the club now has three bunkers on its signature hole.
Sandra and the club have worked hard to build its junior section from virtually nothing to a vibrant 50.
Many of these youngsters have a handicap and two of the girls qualified for last October’s Grand Final of the Highland Spring Junior Masters at Gleneagles.
Sandra, who has been the Club’s Captain, Lady Captain, Junior Convener and Match and Handicap Secretary – all at the same time - has been the driving force in establishing links with local schools and Active Schools to attract children, and particularly girls, to ClubGolf coaching.
The club keeps junior membership at an affordable £60 a year, with 10 weeks of coaching for members pegged at £25,and £35 for non members.
With three volunteers now qualified to coach ClubGolf Sandra is now training for the enhanced Level 1 certificate with a future aim of attaining the Level 2 qualification.
Keen to encourage more adults, Sandra and the club began offering coaching through the adult participation pilot last summer. So far she has introduced four ladies to the game and plans to increase this number in 2012.

Iain Ross, ClubGolf Co-ordinator, Inverness GC (Highland)
Inverness Golf Club came on board with ClubGolf in 2008 to coach and make even better players of the 130 members it already had.
Volunteer Iain Ross, Junior Convenor at the time and now ClubGolf co-ordinator, has been responsible for restructuring the club’s junior coaching.
Year-on-year he has helped increase the numbers of coaches to eight at Level 1 and two at Level 1 advanced, offering a programme delivering coaching to every club junior regardless of age, gender or ability. He has recruited female coaches specifically to encourage girls to play. As a direct result girls make up 20 percent of the junior coaching numbers, a huge increase from two years ago.
Iain has contributed up to five hours a week over four years, spread between planning, coordinating and hands on coaching.
“Iain has invested a huge amount of time to lead the development and implementation of our junior coaching programme, especially for our younger, beginner members,” said the club’s Secretary Manager, former Scottish international, Ewan Forbes
“He has made a huge difference to our junior coaching; since he started it in 2008, our junior ClubGolf coaching has grown from next to nothing to over 60 youngsters.”
Ewan and the club’s four professionals play an integral and essential part in the ClubGolf programme, becoming increasingly involved as the volunteer coaches deliver more youngsters to the standard where they need professional coaching.
The whole coaching team encourages juniors to play more often, improve their handicaps and performances and stay in the club membership, an effort which they seeing paying dividends over next few years.
Working with Ewan, Iain has persuaded the committee to instal 18 forward junior tees, an innovation that has seen a huge increase in the number of juniors playing golf with parents outside the normal coaching times.
This, coupled with having over 60 young juniors regularly using the club, has helped make the club atmosphere even more vibrant.
A further incentive for Inverness juniors is the opportunity to play for the club team in a Ryder Cup style competition against their counterparts from Swedish club, Rya. Such were the bonds formed for the inaugural event hosted they hosted in 2010, that last year the Inverness juniors made the return trip. They won and were delighted to receive the trophy from ex-Celtic legend Henrik Larsson.

Rob Eyton-Jones
For ClubGolf
t: 07775 746981
e: rob@eyton-jones.co.uk



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