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Newtonmore juniors on-hand to celebrate

Young golfers help to mark two anniversaries

JUNIORS from Newtonmore Golf Club helped to celebrate two occasions as they welcomed members from the European Challenge Tour to mark the historic visit by Arnaud Massy in 1909 as well as the 25th anniversary of the tour.

Massy became the first non-British player to win the Open Championship in 1909 and was the only player from mainland Europe to win the Claret Jug until Seve Ballesteros’ victory at Royal Lytham and St Annes in 1979.

Tour director Alain de Soultrait arrived at the club with French professionals Francois Calmels and Edouard Dubois to find out more about their countryman’s links with Newtonmore. Whilst in his prime, Massy played an exhibition match at the club against fellow professional Charles Mayo in 1911, with both breaking the previous club record. The game drew huge crowds to Newtonmore and remains a celebrated occasion at the club.

“Arnaud Massy is widely recognised as the greatest golfer France has ever produced, so the chance to find more about his links to Scotland was too good an opportunity for Edouard and Francois to miss,” said de Soultrait.

“They both enjoyed learning about Arnaud during their visit to Newtonmore Golf Club, just as the schoolchildren who attended the clinic enjoyed learning the tips.”

Calmels and Dubois both gave a demonstration of short game and bunker technique before impressing the watching schoolchildren with a display of long driving.

“The players really motivated the juniors, who also took a trip to see them play at Spey Valley with their classmates,” said Mark Foster, Newtonmore Junior Convener. “The coaching tips they got from the chipping sessions were really useful as the juniors knew these were top Challenge Tour players.”

Willie MacKay, ClubGolf regional manager, was delighted with the success of the day. “It was a tremendous afternoon with the players totally relaxed and the children had prepared interesting questions to ask them,” said MacKay.

“The pros even had a go at using a shinty caman and firing a shot down the first fairway but, when they took out their drivers and boomed a ball right past the first green, that was very impressive.”

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