Stromness Repeat Open Day Thanks to Success
An open day at Stromness Golf Club in Orkney held earlier this month was so successful in bringing in non-golfers and converting them to members that the club is planning another one this Saturday (28 April).
“We were overwhelmed by the turnout of over 30, which had a good mix of juniors and adults,” said delighted Stromness GC ClubGolf coordinator, Douglas Slater. “We started coaching at 11.00am and kept going without a break until late afternoon.”
Since 2006, Stromness has been on board with the national junior programme, ClubGolf, supported by RBS, and backed by 18-times Major champion Jack Nicklaus.
In that time, and through the hard work of Mr Slater and his fellow Level 1 coaches, the club has grown its junior section from four to 29.
From this healthy crop of juniors one of the club’s earliest ClubGolf inductees, Sam Parkinson has reduced his handicap to 12. Helped by the recent innovation of remote video coaching through Tain based Pro, Stuart Morrison, the 16-year-old has emerged better still this season and on his last two scores played off 7.
Structured coaching is at the heart of Stromness’s success. In an effort to link Orkney’s schools to the club, volunteer coaches have attended ClubGolf coaching sessions in every local primary school, along with sportscotland’s Active Schools network staff. These children feed directly into the 26 coaching sessions run at the club through the season.
“Working very closely with Active Schools has made a huge difference to the numbers of children coming through to the club,” said Mr Slater. “We have managed to get a coach to attend every schools event so that when pupils come to the club they already know a familiar face here.”
The club has gone the extra mile in other directions. Each May it brings in a PGA Professional from the mainland to coach upwards of 60 local primary and secondary students. Bringing in professional coaching adds extra credibility to the coaching given by the seven volunteer coaches.
And seeing the results of increasing numbers through junior coaching, it has begun adult coaching, based on the same ClubGolf programme it delivers so successfully to the youngsters.
“We began this two years ago when adults started asking if they could get coaching as well,” said Mr Slater. “So we applied the same ClubGolf coaching which has been successful with the children to the adults and it works just as well.
“And it is bringing in new members as well; I coached five ladies last year that all then joined the ladies section. With more qualified coaches this year we will be able to do a lot lot more.”
After leaflet drops across the local area, this Saturday’s open day at Stromness, starting at 11am, will hopefully encourage more juniors and adults to become members. On offer is free tuition, free use of equipment and the chance for a member to take anyone interested on the course.
What is certain is that, through the commitment of the club and its stalwart coaching team the membership will continue thriving.
“When I was the club captain back in 2006, like most clubs we had an ageing membership,” added Mr Slater.
“But I was keen on building the junior section which had just four youngsters at the start and put a structure in place, narrowing the gap between juniors and adults, so the club would be safe in the future."
"What we are seeing here now are the benefits of the ClubGolf programme and what we have built here is really very exciting for the future,” added ClubGolf’s Highland & Islands Regional Manager, Willie MacKay.
“The use of Open Days like those at Stromness have huge benefits for clubs and with Stromness having a family focus it doubles the interest in the community. The three mainland Clubs, Stromness, Kirkwall and South Ronaldsay, plan different dates for their open days which shows tremendous cooperation between the clubs.”