The Scottish Golf Union (SGU), Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA) and ClubGolf announce the roll out of 50 Scottish Golf Development Centres over the next three years aimed at bringing out the best in the nation’s aspiring young players.
Launched at The Gleneagles Hotel – host venue of The 2014 Ryder Cup – the Development Centre programme will use existing clubs and facilities which meet specified criteria, and will provide access to additional high quality coaching and advice for those youngsters progressing from the early stages of ClubGolf.
The Development Centres are being funded by reserves from ClubGolfScotland, the national junior golf programme, and will be established in three phases, with 21 clubs and facilities having already been identified to tee off the programme from next month.
Gleneagles, a major supporter of junior golf in Scotland and home to the PGA National Golf Academy– Scotland, is among the first Development Centres chosen. The selection of all centres in Phase 1 was based on the audit from this year’s Scottish Golf Facility Plan and local intelligence through the SGU Areas and SLGA Counties before the initial 21 were finalised.
Kevin Cademy-Taylor, Scottish Golf Performance Development Manager, explains the rationale behind the establishment of the Development Centres: “The Development Centres are open to boys and girls, aged between 11 and 17, who have a club handicap. They will also bridge an identified gap between ClubGolf Stage 2 and our Academy. They will provide structured coaching opportunities for young players to help them reach their potential.
“They will promote the improvement of a young golfer’s all round game, focusing on the fundamentals and skills development, with a particular focus on short game and putting. The facilities we have selected will provide an environment which will allow them to work on all these aspects so it’s not just about hitting balls on a driving range.
“In addition, a series of educational workshops will be delivered that will allow both players and importantly their parents to gain a better understanding of Performance Development for Golf.”
Players within the new Programme will be entitled to 30 hours of golf coaching with expert advice (approximately 10 hours) on themes such as fitness, nutrition and psychology. Young players will continue to play the majority of their golf within their own club environment, alongside their own local coach.
Andrew Coltart, the former Ryder Cup player and member of the SGU’s Performance Committee, was also on hand at the launch to offer his backing.
“The Scottish Golf Development Centres will help more youngsters make the most of their talent,” Coltart said. “We have some great facilities here in Scotland so this gives us the opportunity to maximise them. I’m very encouraged that the coaching focus will be on the short game, given the high standards at the top level.
“The success of the European team at last month’s Ryder Cup will undoubtedly be a great inspiration to all the youngsters in ClubGolf and the new Development Centres and it’s a very exciting time to be involved in Scottish Golf with the Gleneagles event less than two years away.”
Stuart McEwen, Gleneagles’ Director of Golf, added: “Gleneagles is proud to be one of the first Development Centres to support aspiring young golfers to reach their potential.
“As an official partner of ClubGolf, we fully endorse the programme in promoting life-long participation in the sport and encouraging juniors to be active members within their local clubs.
“Our coaches are committed to delivering a quality coaching experience and we look forward to seeing the next generation of golfers develop their skills and progress in the game.”
A legacy to Scotland’s staging of the 2014 Ryder Cup, ClubGolf is a direct result of the Scottish Government’s commitment to introduce every nine-year-old child in Scotland to the game by 2014.
ClubGolf is already delivering its Ryder Cup pledge with 2012 a milestone year – the highest number (40,000) of Primary 5 pupils recorded having gone through the introductory stage of ClubGolf and now a total of over 260,000 in the lifespan of the programme.
ClubGolf is making its mark in national events, with Cameron McAndrew (Linlithgow), this month’s winner of the Highland Spring Junior Masters Grand Final at Gleneagles, a ClubGolf graduate. Clara Young (North Berwick) has also come through the ClubGolf system and is now a GB&I and Scotland Girls’ International.
Furthermore, of the 26 boys taken into the Scottish Academy programme this year, six have come through the ClubGolf programme (23%). Nine girls have also been taken onto the programme with two of those having been involved in ClubGolf.
The Scottish Golf Development Centres www.clubgolfscotland.com