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1 million pledged to scots golf

Investment to give ‘quality, affordable coaching for all’

The Scottish Government has shown it is committed to the future of golf with the announcement of £1million of funding over the next four years to give ‘the opportunity for every family in the country to play golf’.

The news arrives on the back of the very successful hosting of the Ryder Cup in September as the government looks to build on the legacy of ClubGolf, the national junior programme, by investing an additional £250k per year until 2018 with the aim of attracting new members and a new generation of players into clubs.

BEGINNERS

Much of the financial backing will go to the new Get into Golf programme for beginner adults, aimed at providing the 593 clubs affiliated to the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association with the tools and skills to introduce any adult to the game, irrespective of their background.

“Scotland is not only the Home of Golf, but it is also the future of golf and this funding will help to introduce yet more youngsters and families to the game,” said First Minister Alex Salmond as he announced the new investment. “We played host to one of the greatest sporting events in the world in the 2014 Ryder Cup. There is no better platform to inspire a new generation of youngsters and their parents to get involved in a sport that originated in this very country, and the Get into Golf initiative will do just that from now on.”

Established in 2013 by the SGU, SLGA and PGA, the Get into Golf programme aims to adapt many of the successful principles from ClubGolf in providing an innovative, fun, welcoming and structured introductory programme for adults, with parents of children already playing golf and women being among the key target groups.

It has been designed to challenge the traditional model of membership and it’s hoped the Get into Golf initiative will appeal to people who have never played golf but like the idea of trying it, or who would like to get back into the game.

The programme helps clubs attract adult beginners by promoting group coaching sessions run by a PGA professional, PGA assistant or volunteer coaches at their club.

Currently, 60 clubs across Scotland are registered for the Get into Golf initiative, with the fresh investment targeted to create more demand across the nation by encouraging participation to grow the game nationally.

LEGACY

The Scottish Government is hoping to experience the same success with Get into Golf that it did with ClubGolf. Since its inception in 2003, the government has supported ClubGolf with the aim of creating a legacy for the 2014 Ryder Cup, with its £500,000 per year funding helping to introduce more than 350,000 school children to golf.

The programme has produced impressive results, too, with over 73% of the Scottish Golf Academy intake in 2014 coming from the ClubGolf Stage 3 Development Centre programme, while 50% of the new male junior golf members and 61% of female junior golf club members were introduced to the sport through ClubGolf coaching in 2013.

First Minister Alex Salmond added: “Bradley Neil is a wonderful example of a youngster who has come through the ranks and is now representing Scotland on a global stage, and he represented Team Europe at the Junior Ryder Cup at his home course in Blairgowrie - we need to continue to introduce the next generation of players and champions to the game at an early stage.

APPEAL

“The ClubGolf programme has already encouraged more than 350,000 youngsters to pick up a club and this new funding will not only build on that success, but also look to expand the appeal to families as well.”

Bill Buchan, chairman of ClubGolf, said: “We have established successful initiatives to support clubs and we need to increase the scale at which we can do this work. There is a fundamental desire to continue with ClubGolf, namely the school introductory programme and the link to local clubs and facilities.

“We recognise that we have a unique opportunity to attract parents and other family members to the introductory offering. With Get into Golf, we want to increase the number of women and girls playing and focus on family golf.”

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