Former Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart has given his backing to the second stage of Scottish Golf Development Centres which will see hundreds of talented young golfers learning from some of the country’s best coaches with access to its finest facilities.
Following last year’s announcement of an initial 21 Development Centres, a further 12 facilities have been brought on board for Phase 2 of the programme, making first-rate coaching available to many more youngsters between the ages of 11-17 across the country.
These new venues (see full list below) have been selected as they offer the most appropriate golf facilities to help juniors develop through ClubGolf Stage 3 coaching, the programme delivered at all Development Centres.
Following a stringent application process, those chosen as Phase 2 centres also provide opportunities for young golfers in a number of key new locations, addressing issues of nationwide accessibility and involving clubs which have made significant improvements in their facilities in recent times.
With almost 300 young people progressing through the first year of Development Centres, and now having the potential for hundreds more to become involved, Coltart is confident about the future of golf in Scotland.
“I am backing the Development Centres because I believe they provide an excellent platform to enhance youngsters golfing abilities,” said the 1999 European Ryder Cup team member and twice winner on the European Tour.
“From this, I am expecting to see youngsters better equipped in all of the attributes required to become a successful golfer. I have no doubt it will help Scotland produce more golfing stars.”
The announcement of the Phase 2 Development Centres also signals the beginning of a new period of coach and player recruitment to fill the newly chosen venues.
Player recruitment began on 15th July and offers 30 hours of coaching, plus 10 hours of additional player modules at a cost of £160.
Young golfers between the ages of 11-17 with an official golf handicap are welcome to apply to join the programme until August 30. The first coaching sessions in Phase 2 centres will then take place in the autumn.
Interested aspiring golfers should submit first and second choices of which Development Centre they would like to attend and are advised to book early to avoid any disappointment.
The sessions will be delivered by some of the finest coaches in Scotland, following the guidelines of a programme covering all elements of golf. This includes all areas of the short game, long game, putting, course management, learning how to practice effectively, preparing for competition, fitness and conditioning, and other key elements.
These elements of learning help junior golfers to develop their physical and mental attributes while also allowing them to understand just what it takes to become a top golfer.
Coltart, now a commentator for Sky Sports, added: “Coming through Development Centres and entering the ScottishGolfAcademy set up should be a simple transition as everyone will be singing from the same hymn sheet, and working towards the same goal.
“The kids will be able to implement what they have learned and enhance their abilities against stiffer challenges and competitions.
“This support is second to none and we should see Scotland producing young men and women capable of reaching the very top of the professional game.”
ClubGolf, in association with the Professional Golfers Association, is now seeking the appropriate candidates to become Development Centre coaches, joining the 24 coaches already established in Phase 1. In order to recruit the most suitable coaches for the programme, PGA Professionals can now apply for the various positions by demonstrating how they meet the specific criteria required to be a Development Coach. Coaches do not have to currently be based at a Development Centre.
Development Coaches will be supported with a coaching framework and a range of resources, which will assist them in preparing an appropriate, player-centred 30-hour programme. They will also be entitled to access a financial subsidy against the new Level 3 Coaching in Golf qualification. In addition, relevant professional development opportunities will also be made available, often at no charge.
According to The PGA’s Coach Education and Development Manager in Scotland, Heather Gaunt, potential coaches should show the drive to develop young players using the most appropriate coaching techniques.
She said: “We are looking for motivated and dedicated coaches who have experience of coaching talented junior golfers and show a commitment to the holistic development of young players.
“We are also looking for those who are committed to their own personal development as a coach. One key requirement for Development Coaches is to continuously learn and develop, so the players are receiving the most relevant and up-to-date information.
“Coaches with the right mind set will be recruited for this programme and there are plenty of opportunities for these coaches to then access the relevant CPD.”
Scottish Golf Development Centres Project Manager, Colin Bell, is hopeful that, through the work of the 31 Development Centres now in operation – and further plans to extend the programme in 2014 – Scotland’s most talented youngsters now have the greatest possible chance of reaching their potential.
He said: “When I speak to the coaches delivering ClubGolf Stage 3 at Scottish Golf Development Centres, they believe that we cannot start early enough in providing young golfers access to this level of programme.
“In addition to the first class coaching being delivered, the players are learning about the other key elements that you must now work on if you are serious about becoming a top golfer.
“However, coaching at Development Centres is equally important in developing young players into competent club golfers who can enjoy the game for the rest of their lives.
“We are very confident with so many centres now on board, young golfers in Scotland are better provided for than they have ever been.”
For more information on becoming involved as a player or coach in a Phase 2 Scottish Golf Development Centre, log-on to the ClubGolf website at www.clubgolfscotland.com/development-centres.
Scottish Golf Development Centres confirmed for Phase 2
(programmes starting October 2013):
All 12 new Development Centres for Phase 2 marked with asterisk