Forward-thinking North Lanarkshire golf facility welcomes around 40 local youngsters to fun day
By SCG Newsdesk
Around 40 young golfers with special needs took to the fairways recently as part of a fun day at Lochview Family Golf Centre.
The day was organised to celebrate the North Lanarkshire facility reaching the final four of the Junior Club of the Year, for which it was awarded a grant of £500. Lochview was recognised by the judges for its ongoing commitment to nurturing ASN (additional support needs) golf.
The youngsters taking part included boys and girls from Pentland School, Glencryan School, Motherwell Support Unit and New College Lanarkshire, and also Cumbernauld-based charity, Watch Us Grow.
John Kelly, PGA professional with North Lanarkshire Leisure, explained: “We work closely with schools and colleges to encourage young people with physical or mental disabilities to take part in golf. The aim is to build up their confidence to encourage them in to being a club member of the golf club.
“ASN golf was started around four years ago at Lochview and has gone from strength-to-strength. In 2014 two young people from the project became full members and are playing golf with other club golfers, which is a huge achievement for all the golf team here.”
Councillor Jim Logue, Leader of North Lanarkshire Council, added: “I’d like to congratulate John and his team for everything they’ve achieved. Our goal is to encourage lots more people to take up golf and get involved at Lochview. We are determined to remove all barriers that would stop a youngster from thinking about trying golf.
“Lochview is not only a golf facility, but also a vital community asset, open and available to everyone and I would encourage people to make use of and enjoy it.”
The junior golf academy has around 200 young people receiving coaching each week, but it all starts from community involvement within local schools through lunch time clubs or after-school clubs.
Scottish Golf’s Regional Club Development Officer and Schools and Community Officer attended the event, and presented medals to all the participants. Andy Salmon, Deputy Chief Executive for Scottish Golf, said: “The beauty of Lochview Family Golf Centre is that it does exactly what it says on the tin. It caters for all the family, regardless of age, gender or ability. Golf is a perfect non-contact sport which young people with additional support needs can enjoy playing as much as their family members, friends or carers can.
“John and his team do a fantastic job with their range of classes from parents and toddlers right through to their performance academy level golfers, and that is why they were selected as a runner-up for the Junior Club of the Year at this year’s Scottish Golf Awards. I’m delighted their grant has allowed them to organise this event and given so many young golfers such a great experience out on the course.”