Budding junior golfers can benefit from free golf and access to free golf equipment as part of an innovative partnership between the 2019 Solheim Cup and Golf Perthshire in a bid to make Perth & Kinross the most family-friendly golf destination in the world.
More than 80 sets of junior golf equipment have been purchased by Golf Perthshire and distributed to all 26 golf clubs across the region thanks to a £10,000 grant from The 2019 Solheim Cup Golf Development Programme with the aim of encouraging more young people into the sport.
In addition, the majority of golf clubs across Perth & Kinross have signed up to Golf Perthshire’s scheme to offer free golf to people under the age of 18 with a paying adult with the remainder introducing affordable family golf passes.
The move comes as Scotland prepares to host the 2019 Solheim Cup at Gleneagles this September. Backed by the Scottish Government, the Solheim Cup will deliver a multitude of benefits to Scotland, including huge international media profile and promotion of equality across both sport and society, as well as supporting programmes to encourage more women and young people to take up the game.
Making the announcement during this week’s Golf & Health Week, Joe FitzPatrick, minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, said: “This is a terrific initiative by Golf Perthshire to promote the region as a world-leading family golf destination, and I’m delighted that the 2019 Solheim Cup can support this project. Removing barriers to entry is key to encouraging participation in any sport or activity, so offering free access to golf courses and free use of junior golf equipment opens the door for young people and families to engage in the sport, many of whom we hope will be inspired by hosting a world-class event on their own doorstep in September.”
Golf tourism is worth in excess of £19 million annually to the Perth & Kinross economy, supporting more than 520 jobs. The region already outperforms the rest of Scotland when it comes to the proportion of female golfing visitors – 20% compared to the national average of 12% – and it is hoped this initiative will encourage more women and families to travel to Perth & Kinross to play golf.
Allan Minto, project manager for Golf Perthshire, added: “As well as being a great way to encourage greater participation in golf by young people who live in Perth & Kinross, this initiative will help achieve our ambition of being the most family-friendly golf destination anywhere in the world. Perth & Kinross is already hugely popular with general family holidaymakers and we hope this initiative will encourage visitors to try golf alongside some of the other popular outdoor pursuits on offer.
“With a great mix of shorter nine-hole courses and world-renowned championship courses, Perth & Kinross has the assets to cater for any level of golfer from beginner to expert. We’re delighted to have the support of the 2019 Solheim Cup and are excited to see so many golf fans coming to the region in September to watch the matches, hopefully being inspired to also experience our wonderful golf offering for themselves.”
In addition to the Golf Perthshire junior golf equipment initiative, the 2019 Solheim Cup Golf Development Programme has also supported other projects including the joint-funding of Scottish Golf’s Women & Young People Development Manager post alongside the R&A, and the introduction of a joint fund to support aspiring young Scottish golfers in their bid to qualify for the Ping Junior Solheim Cup.
The Scottish Government’s aspiration is that the 2019 Solheim Cup will be the biggest ever European edition of the event and the most family-focused golf event in history, with around 100,000 spectators expected at Gleneagles. Tickets are priced from just £10 for adults, with children under-16 admitted free of charge, while there will also be a host of family-friendly activities.
For more information on Golf Perthshire and clubs participating in their free junior golf scheme visit www.golfperthshire.com