With ‘The Home of Golf’ boasting a wonderful run of major events this summer, young golfers across Scotland are being handed the chance to enjoy their own feast of golf, with the governing body launching a trio of exciting events to inspire the next generation.
Across the Moray Firth from the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open, Fortrose & Rosemarkie will host the first ever Junior Scottish Open, while a new series of #ThisGirlGolfs group events and the annual ClubGolf Camps will take place during a jam-packed summer for Scotland’s budding youngsters.
Each of the three initiatives is designed to support clubs in the retention of young golfers while giving new golfers the opportunity to experience the game in a fun environment.
The new Junior Scottish Open will take place on Wednesday 6 July on the picturesque Black Isle venue, on the eve of a number of the world’s best golfers teeing up at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open the following day. The event is open to all affiliated clubs in Scotland who are invited to enter a team of three juniors, to be accompanied by one adult player, with each club team named after one of the top players competing at Castle Stuart Golf Links.
Competitors will then have the chance to watch stars such as Phil Mickelson, Henrik Stenson, Russell Knox and Lee Westwood in action, with juniors going for free and each team receiving two adult tickets.
ClubGolf’s popular summer camps, a legacy of the Scottish Government’s investment in Scottish Golf’s junior programme, will run across the country during the school summer holidays, with clubs being supported to run their own week-long activities for juniors with an Olympic theme ahead of golf’s return to the Games in August. Last year, 106 camps took place with more than 1,000 ‘Campers’ taking part, with Scottish Golf aiming for an increase in that number in 2016.
Meanwhile, a further 10 new events aimed at encouraging more girls to take up the sport have been launched, building on the momentum created by the #ThisGirlGolfs campaign. Running from 4 – 25 June, clubs and PGA professionals will host a series of four-hour group coaching sessions, combining learning the game with the social aspects of golf.
The events are open to girls aged between nine and 16, with a minimum of one year’s playing experience with or without a handicap, with the sessions priced at £7.50 each.
Jackie Davidson, Scottish Golf’s Club Development Manager, expressed her excitement at the launch of the summer activities and said: “We’re really looking forward to working with our clubs, coaches and young golfers with this fantastic series of events, which I’m sure will inspire more boys and girls to get involved in golf and stay within the game.
“There really is something for everyone, whether you want to compete with your club-mates in the Junior Scottish Open then watch the world’s best golfers at Castle Stuart, or attend a ClubGolf camp as a beginner golfer. There is so much on offer in Scotland this summer and we would encourage all clubs to get involved and make the most of the buzz created by the big events.”
Davidson highlighted the #ThisGirlGolfs coaching events as a key new initiative in the drive to grow female participation numbers and added: “Our 10 group events will deliver a quality experience for girls who are perhaps currently playing their golf in isolation, playing with boys or playing with their family, and not getting that whole social experience of playing with other girls. We want to them to come along, have fun and laughter and take part in on course coaching, connect together and build relationships which can last a lifetime.
“There has been fantastic work done by our volunteer coaches and PGA professionals, and these events are not taking away from the work achieved in clubs, but we do have a problem keeping girls in golf. Female golf membership in Scotland stands at 14% and we want to do something about that.
“We have seen success in other sports when doing these types of events and we view them as an opportunity for girls to make lifelong friendships that will keep them in the game.”
Scottish Golf scottishgolf.org