Monday, January 02, 2017

The best junior conveners make it a full-time 

hobby and they need help from parents

Deeside Golf Club assistant professional
It's sad to note that Nigg Bay are struggling for junior members as are a number of other clubs in the North East of Scotland and beyond. We are currently very fortunate at Deeside Golf Club to have a vibrant junior section. I think there is a cocktail of reasons for this which would obviously differ from club to club. 

In response to Mr Allan's article I believe the most important aspect of a successful junior section is the time and commitment made by an appointed person(s) in growing a club's junior membership. We are very fortunate to have Elaine Farquharson-Black as our junior convener who starts the juniors every Saturday on both courses; Assists all junior group coaching sessions; Attends (and transports) juniors to club matches and much moreā€¦ it is literally a full time hobby. 

Secondly it is up to golf clubs to offer greater value to their junior memberships in way of extra competitions, facilities, fun days, outings away, team clothing etc. As Elaine mentioned kids are forever on their phones - a golf club being active on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram can benefit whether it's connecting with juniors or, better yet, parents.

Parents play a huge role in junior golf participation (after all they are the ones investing time and money into their children). Offering family fun days and keeping in touch with parents through email can be helpful in junior retention. 

It may come as no shock that a large percentage of juniors who have progressed to the associate ranks at Deeside had high levels of parental involvement in the way of playing regular golf with their children or support of their child's hobby.

A number of clubs around Scotland have recently connected with their local secondary schools in offering group coaching (maybe through ClubGolf) or open days where kids can get a taste of golf. 

Whilst Nigg Bay may not have an attached Professional they certainly have an array of excellent amateurs at the club who may be willing to donate some of their spare time in assisting with junior development

Whilst coaching may be perceived as improving a participant's golf I also believe junior coaching to be very important in getting kids used to their fellow members and surroundings. You are also very fortunate to have young junior Tyler Ogston at the club who I am 'forever hearing positive noises about from your members.

With time restraints being a factor for the decline of many golfers it is worth noting that clubs can now offer 9 hole competitions to their members which I know has been very well received in England and could work well at clubs struggling for junior participants.

Here's hoping Aberdeen and Shire can have a successful junior golfing 2017. I know a handful of junior opens had to be cancelled last year due to a lack of entries and the rest struggled for numbers but maybe with a bit more club to club cooperation we can start to see better numbers of junior participants  in the coming years. Happy New Year

Graeme Nethercott



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