Former Scottish Ladies Amateur champion Laura Murray was the guest of honour as Torphins Golf Club cut the ribbon on its brand new practice area, which is destined to improve the play of its junior members.
The facility, made possible through a £5,000 grant from Awards For All – Scotland, has been created on spare moorland at the highest point of the course and has been designed to help Club Golfers and juniors develop their pitching and putting skills, with a new putting green and five hitting bays.
After carrying out the official opening, recently turned professional Murray, from nearby Alford, presented this year’s intake of ClubGolf youngsters with certificates to celebrate completion of their first block of coaching. She then joined all Torphins juniors in pitching and putting competitions, followed by a question and answer session.
On her first impressions of the new practice area, LET Access Tour player Murray said: “It was so good to see all of the juniors here tonight and they were having a great time and are all so enthusiastic. I wish people my age were as enthusiastic about golf as these kids.
“The new facility is going to have a huge benefit. The kids are going to develop a lot of confidence in their short game and with that their scores will come down and their handicaps will come down. It gives them the chance to experiment with their short game and give them touch and feel around the greens, and it’s going to build a strong junior section at Torphins.
“A strong junior section will be where the club’s future comes from. We’ll hopefully have a lot of talented players coming out of the club and raise its profile. It’s going to do a lot for the club and it will transform the way the juniors think on the golf course”
Now in its eighth year of ClubGolf, Torphins has a thriving junior section with around 30 children regularly taking part in coaching and competitions on Friday evenings.
Junior Convener John Giblin explained the rationale behind creating the new practice area. He said: “We hadn’t had any practice facilities to speak of at the club, so we wanted to create a place that the juniors could use.
“We approached Awards for All with help from our ClubGolf Regional Manager, Audra Booth, and received £5,000 funding. This, plus a lot of hard work by the members, has enabled us to create this great facility.
“We really needed this kind of space to bring the kids on. While we have nine and 18-hole competitions on a Friday evening for the older and more able children, we were also having to use the course for our ClubGolf coaching, which meant those competing had to be patient and wait for greens to clear of ClubGolfers before playing.
“We no longer have to do that, as we can carry out ClubGolf coaching on the practice area, giving the other kids freedom of the course.”
Already, during the summer holidays and prior to the official opening, the area has been put to good use by the juniors and is being viewed as a valuable addition to the club’s facilities by members.
ClubGolf Regional Manager for Grampian, Audra Booth, is delighted that Torphins facilities will now allow all of its juniors to develop and enjoy the game.
She said: “This new facility will mean that the children now have a safe area to practice and receive their ClubGolf coaching. The coaches at Torphins have done a fantastic job over the last few years, and this area will make a huge difference to them and their juniors.”
Giblin added that he is confident the new area can encourage more ClubGolfers to go and become junior members of the club and to improve their current standard of play more quickly.
He said: “We are very pleased with the result. There is quite a good junior section here and a lot of them have cut their handicaps significantly. I won’t say it is solely because of the new practice area but it has certainly helped.
“Progression from ClubGolf coaching into membership is quite successful. We hope that the additional of the new facilities will help that to continue.”
Torphins Golf Club www.torphinsgolfclub.co.uk