Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, and Scotland’s most successful women’s golf professional, Catriona Matthew MBE, have announced new figures showing that record numbers of girls are being introduced to golf through clubgolf, Scotland’s junior golf programme.
So far this year 18,481 Primary 5 girls experienced golf at school through clubgolf’s introductory game, firstclubgolf.
This figure represents the highest number of girls introduced to the game since clubgolf was launched in 2003 and is 49 percent of the total number of 37,790 children playing firstclubgolf at school in 2011.
To date almost 220,000 children in Scotland have been introduced to golf through clubgolf, with the support of sportscotland’s Active Schools Network, primary schools across the country and all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities.
Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said: “Increasing levels of participation in sport and physical activity is a top priority for the Government. We want more people of all ages to achieve the benefits that a more active and healthy lifestyle can bring.
“The build up to Scotland hosting The Ryder Cup in 2014 provides an ideal focus for us to achieve a more active population and clubgolf is doing just that – giving primary school pupils the chance to pick up some clubs, gain confidence and then go on to be coached at clubs by qualified volunteers and pros.
“It is great to see these new figures which show a record number of girls have been introduced to golf through the club golf initiative. I hope that major events such as this weekend’s Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open and the RICOH
Introducing record numbers of girls to golf is just the start. Last year 3000 girls took part in clubgolf coaching programmes at participating golf clubs. One of them,North Berwick’s Clara Young, invited to play in this week’s pro-am at Archerfield, competed for the GB&I Under-16s squad in June’s match against the Continent of Europe.
With the numbers of children in clubgolf programmes at clubs set to rise again this year, the figure for girls receiving coaching in clubs is expected to grow. A new three-year sponsorship with RBS is supporting the programme’s infrastructure with a focus on retaining youngsters being introduced to the game into structured coaching and junior club membership.
Catriona Matthew is a long term ambassador for clubgolf and its specific projects to get more girls playing which include encouraging girls-only coaching, fun competitions, social events, ‘buddy’ systems and activities at Ladies golf events.
“I know that programmes set up by the clubgolf have done a great deal over recent years to encourage more girls to take up the game and I’ll be delighted to become involved in some way,” said Catriona.
“Putting golf into the primary schools and giving girls the opportunity to play is making a difference, and girls-only coaching is definitely helping keep more girls in the game. Encouraging girls to meet other girls that are playing golf will help keep them interested. And it’s good to see that juniors like Clara are coming right through the clubgolf programme and into the academies. It will encourage others.”
The Scottish Government via sportscotland has invested £1,068,720 into golf in 2010/11, of which £500,000 was invested in clubgolf with a further £78,720 invested in coach education to support the clubgolf programme.