‘We’ve introduced golf as a school activity to get more kids playing,’ reveals academy director
Alan Murdoch has described Merchiston Golf Academy’s recent ranking as the No.1 ISGA junior golf school in the UK as ‘a great honour’.
Murdoch, who is the director of the academy, has been involved since it started its golf programme four years ago and is delighted it has started to receive such high recognition so quickly.
“It’s great for us as an academy and a big thrill for me as a coach to see the progression,” Murdoch told Scottish Club Golfer. “The ranking shows that what we’re doing is working, and now it’s all about building on where we are. It’s peace of mind that what we’re doing is right. We’re leading the way, boys are coming to the school and word of mouth is getting out there, so it’s very positive for us.”
When the golf academy was started in 2011, there were no golfers at the school. Now, it has 21 boys involved in coaching and playing regularly. Murdoch is happy with that figure and doesn’t want it to grow much bigger.
He added: “We’ve now introduced golf as a school activity, so we’re hoping more of the kids can pick up golf through that, and if they show an interest, there’s now a pathway for them after the golf activity programme. They can come into the academy afterwards and we have the tie in with Kings Acre Golf Club, with our academy players automatically becoming members so they don’t have an issue of having to join a golf club.
One of the biggest success stories from the academy so far is Edinburgh teen Calum Hill, who is currently on a golf scholarship at Oregon State university, qualified for this year’s Scottish Open at Gullane and enjoyed a practice round alongside eventual champion Rickie Fowler, as well as Jimmy Walker and Cameron Tringale in the lead up to the event.
Murdoch said: “I’m still Calum’s coach and it was great to see him out there. It was an invaluable experience for him. Playing with players like that, you can’t put a price on that for a youngster.”