As the golfing world reflects on a nail biting finish to The Open at Turnberry at the weekend, golf in Scotland has its own cause for celebration. sportscotland has announced increased investment in Scottish golf with over £1 million being made available to continue the development of the highly successful clubgolf programme, support the Scottish Ladies Golfing Association (SLGA) and further investment in the partnership with the Scottish Golf Union (SGU).
Against the backdrop of the Scottish Boys Stroke Play Championship at Ladybank Golf Club in Fife, sportscotland Chair, Louise Martin CBE and Sports Minister Shona Robison announced funding of £1,047,160 to support and develop the amateur game at all levels across Scotland.
Sports Minister Shona Robison said: “In the year of Homecoming and in the wake of the successful return of the Open Championship to Turnberry, I am delighted that more than a million pounds will be invested for the development of golf in Scotland.
“Golf is a big part of our culture, our identity and our economy and this is a great time for the game in Scotland. Last week, while at Turnberry, the First Minister announced that a record number of boys and girls have been introduced to clubgolf, our national junior golf programme. This is tremendous news as it continues to encourage our youngsters to participate in the sport. The funding announced today will further ensure our player base continues to increase and more Scots enjoy being active and healthy in the home of golf.”
Announcing the funding Louise Martin CBE, Chair, sportscotland said: “Today we celebrate the successes of our young golfers and can see first hand the golfing talent that Scotland has to offer.
“Our focus now is to build on these foundations and to ensure that Scotland further develops its reputation as a golfing nation. That is why sportscotland works closely with the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Ladies Golfing Association to identify how our investment and support can really make a difference. From advising on strategy to providing funding for key coaching and development posts we are committed to the sport of golf from top to bottom and the numerous benefits it brings to the country.”
Adding to the feel good factor within the sport, First Minister, Alex Salmond last week announced impressive figures demonstrating the huge rise in youngsters who have been exposed to golf through clubgolf. Almost 40,000 primary school children in all 32 local authorities throughout Scotland have had the opportunity to try the game for themselves this year.
Andy Salmon, Scottish Golf Development Manager, whose post is part-funded through sportscotland, welcomed the investment: “This combination of government and lottery funding demonstrates the importance of golf to Scotland, not just as a sport but as part of the national culture. It will allow us to build on some very notable recent successes and continue to build for the future.
“Our national coaches have enjoyed tremendous success of late and our work to introduce golf to every child through clubgolf has produced some really world class outcomes. Allied to this, the investment allows us to focus on supporting our clubs without which there would be no golf industry.”
sportscotland’s investment in golf supports a huge range of activity from coach education, training and competition programmes to the employment of the national coaches. In partnership with the SGU and SLGA, sportscotland strives to ensure that golf is provided with the support it needs to develop to its full potential.
For Scottish Golf, the challenge is harnessing the current interest in the game and converting it into increased club membership. A recent awareness campaign ‘Love Golf? Join the Club’ has seen an increase in members in a number of cases as more people recognise just how accessible golf is nowadays. With more and more clubs signing up to the clubgolf programme and developing their junior sections there is a real determination to grow the sport in Scotland.
The £1,047,160 is made up of £574,200 sportscotland funding from the Scottish Government and £472,960 of sportscotland Lottery funding. Of this, £500,000 is allocated to the delivery of clubgolf.
Last year SGU and SLGA received a combined investment of £911,000.
Scottish Golf Union www.scottishgolf.org