National junior programme going from strength to strength in the Highlands and Islands
By SCG Newsdesk
As the 2017 golf ‘season’ drew to a close, clubs across the Highlands & Islands reflected on another successful year of ClubGolf coaching activity.
The national junior programme continues to strengthen in some of the remotest parts of the country. Indeed, ClubGolf coaching participation figures for 2017 across the North (Highland, Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles & Moray) have increased by 10% since the 2016 returns from clubs.
Girls’ participation across the North is also slightly above the national trend with a 25% participation level, but in Shetland and Moray the clubs have recorded over 30% of girls participating in ClubGolf coaching programmes.
The picture is notably bright at Whalsay, Britain’s most northerly 18-hole course. Whalsay juniors have increased their on-course playing time by 120% with structured competitions for three holes, six holes, nine holes and 18 holes.
“Whalsay is over 330 miles from St Andrews, and closer to Bergen in Norway at 220 miles, but the Scottish Golf ClubGolf programme is vibrant and all-year round with an indoor golf facility through the Shetland Recreational Trust at Whalsay Leisure Centre,” outlines Willie MacKay, Scottish Golf’s Regional Club Development Officer for the North.
Golf is also proving to be popular with kids youngsters at Rothes. The club’s junior section was founded three years ago, supported by the ClubGolf scheme. The club’s junior convenor, Neal Anderson, says the project has taken off with the help of sponsorship from local businesses.
Reay, which runs a Junior Open, Orkney and Stromness clubs are also enjoying success, whilst a winter coaching programme, based at Royal Dornoch, is helping juniors develop (via monthly trips by ferry from Stromness). Orkney also welcomed 37 juniors to its recent junior championship.