A further 15 golf clubs and facilities are set to be identified as leading venues for the coaching of youngsters, as Phase 2 of the Scottish Golf Development Centre Programme is rolled out nationwide.
Applications are now being invited from golf clubs and facilities looking to be considered as the newest additions to Scottish Golf’s Development Centre portfolio, with a deadline of May 6. All chosen facilities will be notified by the end of June 2013, at which point coach and player recruitment will commence.
The selection of ‘Development Centres’ was born from the vision to ensure Scotland’s most promising young players are given the opportunity to reach their potential, with a total of 50 centres to be chosen by the completion of Phase 3 in 2014.
The programme, which began in October 2012, was devised following an independent survey that recommended better support was required in the transition of junior golfers from ClubGolf clubs to ScottishGolfAcademy level.
A total of 21 facilities were identified as Development Centres in the first year and already boys and girls between the ages of 11 to 17 have been exposed to 30 hours of tailored coaching, plus 10 hours of additional expert advice on important areas, including fitness, nutrition and psychology.
Their creation has enhanced Scottish Golf’s coaching pathway, in that children who have been identified as promising golfers at Stage 2 of ClubGolf coaching will now receive ClubGolf Stage 3 from some of Scotland’s best coaches within Development Centres.
ClubGolf Manager Jackie Davidson is confident that much has already been achieved in the first year of the programme, allowing Scotland’s best young golfers to reach their fullest potential.
She said: “This programme will activate and accelerate the delivery of Stage 3 across the whole of the country and will provide keen young golfers the opportunity to further develop their skills, encourage regular practice and provide additional learning and support to become the complete golfer.”
A further 15 centres will be selected during Phase 2, which will allow Scottish Golf Development Coaches to access the best facilities throughout the country to deliver a structured and consistent golf development programme. Development Centres will be based at facilities with the optimum facilities available to allow players to develop at this key stage within the Scottish Golf player pathway.
Future plans for the project, culminating in the introduction of Phase 3, will give leading facilities, interested coaches and budding players a further chance to become engaged within Scottish Golf Development Centres in 2014.
Scottish Golf Development Centre Project Manager Colin Bell explained how facilities, coaches and players stand to benefit.
He said: “Development Centres are recognised as a key part of the Scottish Golf Player Pathway and they enhance the great foundations for Scottish junior golf that ClubGolf has built.
“Young players looking for a comprehensive development programme during the winter months now have access to some of Scotland’s best golf coaches, who are delivering fantastic programmes covering all areas of the game.
“Already a number of Development Centre players from our first 21 centres have shown measurable improvements through our standardised national skills tests and successful results on the golf course early in the season.
“The programme also provides further education to the players on the other essential areas that all of the top golfers in the world are working on every week, such as goal setting, mental preparation and fitness and conditioning.
“Development Centres introduce these elements so that young golfers in Scotland and their parents can better understand what it takes to become a top class golfer.”
Factors that will inform the decision making process on facilities include the results of a 2012 independent Scottish Golf Facility Audit, along with local intelligence and consultation on a local and region level. Robust criteria for facility provisions will also be used along with geographical and population considerations.
Essential criteria include being part of the ClubGolf programme and the Scottish Golf Player Pathway and having a short game area, individual teaching bays and a putting green.
Bell also explained why it is important that these criteria are met for those young golfers who have been identified as talented enough for Development Centre promotion.
“It is essential that our identified Development Coaches across Scotland have access to the most appropriate practice facilities to help young golfers develop their games. The most successful professionals in every sport work hard on their games during their off-season.
“For golf in Scotland, that requires suitable facilities to allow coaching and purposeful practice during the winter and leading into the early golf season. Through this programme, Scottish Golf will not only be able to benefit our players and coaches, but also over time raise the standard of golf practice facilities.”
To apply to become one of the Phase 2 or 3 centres, clubs and facilities must fill in the Facility Application Form, which should then be return to SGDC@clubgolfscotland.com. This can downloaded from www.clubgolfscotland.com/coaches/development-centres, where more information is also available on the overall Scottish Golf Development Centre programme.