Organised by sportscotland’s Active Schools network and the national junior programme clubgolf, the festivals are both a grand finale to the national junior programme, clubgolf’s introductory game, taught in schools across the country this term, and an opportunity for children to become involved in coaching programmes in Edinburgh’s golf clubs.
“Giving these children the opportunity to play golf in curriculum time is a fantastic starting point,” said Jude Salmon, Active Schools Co-ordinator for the Broughton cluster, who along with colleagues and students from Telford College, organised last week’s clubgolf festival for children from Ferryhill, Flora Stevenson, Granton and Stockbridge primary schools.
“The part that we are really working hard on now is pushing the next stage, the Stage 1 course at Silverknowes Golf Club. We had a great turnout of 180 children at our festival and a lot of them were really keen to go on and develop their skills at the club so I’m hopeful this will be a huge success.”
Salmon’s festival, hosted by Ferryhill Primary School, follows a formula that is being replicated across the capital. Setting up a mini golf course on the school field with coaching, fun competitions and using real golf equipment, she hopes will bridge the gap between familiar school facilities and the local golf club.
“There’s a big leap between the two” she said. “So we designed an event where they could get a good idea of what the game is all about, and learn to take responsibility for whose shot it is and how to score. It’s about bringing it all together and giving them an idea on what it would be like to play a game of golf.”
Nearby Silverknowes is the feeder club for the Broughton cluster – its qualified clubgolf volunteer coaches teaching over 40 children through the summer – and a good example of the 20 Edinburgh golf clubs and facilities which run clubgolf programmes and are seeing the benefits of more juniors and improved performances.
clubgolf festival organisers would like to see many more children taking the step from golf at school to club and now is the perfect time.
“If we get 20 kids from this week’s group that would be phenomenal,” said Salmon. “What we need now is for these children to go back home and show their keenness to parents or guardians so that they can take them along to the club.”