Gleneagles has hosted some of the world’s greatest golfing legends over the years and now The Gleneagles Foundation, its 12-month scholarship programme for aspiring junior golfers, is looking for the next batch of aspiring golf stars.
The lucky scholarship recipients will receive one year’s worth of coaching and one-to-one tuition; complimentary golf rounds; access to the PGA National Academy practice facilities; consultations with personal trainers and the hotel’s ESPA Life team; equipment and attire; and invitations to exclusive events and clinics.
The Gleneagles Foundation programme first launched last summer, when 13 talented youngsters, ranging in age from 8 to 17, were announced at an event at The PGA National Academy hosted by local legend Colin Montgomerie.
With the first intake of young golfers graduating from the Foundation next month, a special trial day will be held at the PGA National Golf Academy on Saturday 10 September to find up to four new junior players to join the programme for 2016-17.
Candidate selection at the trail day will be based not simply on the young players’ shot skills and game strengths, but on the candidates’ aspirations, levels of enthusiasm and potential.
Gary Silcock, Gleneagles’ Director of Golf, said: “Joining this scholarship programme is an opportunity of a lifetime for young people with a passion for golf – and not just because it supports junior players to fulfil their potential through some of the best professional coaching provision, advice, equipment and practice facilities in Scotland.
“Crucially, the programme also provides a wonderful social network, where the scholars can get together with their peers, learn from each other, and boost their confidence through team events and practice sessions.”
He added: “In the future, we hope to see some of these scholars rise through the ranks – to reach the very pinnacle of the sport and fly the flag for Scottish golf.”
One of the youngest scholars selected last year, eight year old Grace Rita Crawford from North Berwick, was thrilled to discover she had made the cut from over 100 applicants.
Grace plays twice a week and at the weekends and placed 5th and 6th at the World Championship – US Kids Golf in the under 8s category. She is keen to keep enjoying the sport while working on her handicap and is hoping the next intake of Foundation players will include more girl golfers who can join her on the programme.
“The most important thing I’ve learnt is that you’ve got to stay positive all the time,” said Grace. “I’m improving every day and learning how to hit the ball a lot softer too, but it’s your attitude that’s the most important thing.”
“Someone came up to me on the course recently and said I was an amazing golfer, which made me feel really good,” she said “but I’d like to get better and maybe win a major when I’m older. Golf is my hobby, but it can also be a big career.”
Another junior golfer selected for The Gleneagles Foundation last year was 15-year-old Rowan Carey from Auchterarder.
Rowan, who has ambitions to gain a college golf scholarship in the USA and eventually turn professional, says he has benefitted enormously from the scholarship programme. “I’ve been doing fitness and coaching sessions and I’ve been down here putting in as many hours of practice as I can,” he said.
“With the support of the Foundation, I’ve made a lot of positive changes. I’m still honing these and grooving them into my game but I’m feeling like my swing’s really getting there now.
“Being a scholar means you know you’ve got support there at all times. We can pop in and there will always be someone there to help us or give advice on our game.”
Youngsters from across Scotland are eligible to apply. Applicants must be aged between 8 – 18 years and handicap restrictions apply for each age group.
To attend the trial day, applicants should complete an application form – available at www.gleneagles.com/golf/gleneagles-foundation. For further information, contact Matthew Galley, PGA Head of Instruction at email@example.com or on 01764 694343.