Former Open champion and current Alfred Dunhill Links champion Paul Lawrie today launched a pilot golf coaching programme for children aimed at improving future golfing standards across the country.
Watched by 200 youngsters, Paul struck the shot which launched the programme at St Andrews Links Balgove Course – a 9 hole course specially designed for children.
“Seeing all these children here is terrific,” said Paul. “What comes across is that they are all enjoying it and they’re learning to play properly. This can only be good for the future of the game in Scotland”.
The pilot programme is being run by the newly established St Andrews Links Junior Golf Association and is supported by the Scottish Junior Golf Programme. Already 450 children from St Andrews and the surrounding area have signed up and almost 100 volunteer adults have agreed to assist in the coaching. Twelve local professionals are providing the technical teaching skills.
“This has been a tremendous community effort,” said Alan McGregor, general manager of St Andrews Links Trust which is coordinating the whole programme. “The local clubs, the schools, local professionals, the children and the parents are all involved.”
The coaching programme takes children from as young as five years old up to eighteen year olds and provides them with structured, coordinated coaching. The youngest age groups are coached by the volunteers, who have themselves undergone training by golf professionals and child experts. The older children and those showing exceptional talent are coached by the golf professionals.
The programme is to be a test bed for the whole of Scotland and is a partnership between sportscotland, the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies Golf Association, the PGA and the Golf Foundation
“Lessons learned here will be used to help formulate similar programmes throughout the country,” said Alan McMillan, of sportscotland. “This is the most comprehensive programme ever developed for junior golf coaching in the UK and will be invaluable in establishing the way forward for Scotland.”
St Andrews Links Trust www.standrews.org.uk