Scottish Golf is growing interest in the sport on the Shetland Isles, backed by two young brothers involved in the game at grassroots level as well as support from the mainland.
An innovative partnership with The Nairn Golf Club PGA Teaching Professional Coach Murray Urquhart, facilitated by Scottish Golf Regional Club Development Officer (RCDO) Willie MacKay, saw 20 young Shetlanders guided through the basics of the game over the summer months.
One of those who enjoyed the camps was 13-year-old Joe Clubb, whose older brother Jack is also involved in golf as the islands’ sports development officer. The duo are living proof of the increased interest in golf – and wider sports and physical wellbeing – on Shetland.
Willie MacKay, Scottish Golf RCDO, said: “Scottish Golf was delighted to help support this innovative partnership which shows how clubs can work together to drive the interest and participation of young people in golf.
“The fun and learning that children get from golf camps can change their outlook on the sport – so the work Murray has led this year has had a real impact. The variety of intense practice mixed with playing, along with skill challenges, give the juniors like Joe a good understanding of their golf swing and knowledge of the aspects they need to continue to work on.”
Over the summer Murray Urquhart travelled from the mainland to coach 20 juniors aged between 8 and 14, including Joe. They enjoyed learning from the former European Tour player, who guided them through the basics of the game over three 3-hour sessions, practicing everything from putting techniques to taking shots at the practice net. A second group of more experienced youngsters were tutored on their short game and improving their swings on Shetland Golf Club’s course overlooking the nearby sea loch, Dales Voe.
Joe said: “It was a great few days that taught me so much. I really hope that it can happen more regularly as it was a great experience. The chance to work one-to-one was amazing and it really improved my game.”
Thanks to the level of interest and participation, plans are being put in place to provide more coaching on the Shetland Isles next summer, utilising Scottish Golf’s Roving Pro funding.
Murray was happy to see such a promising turnout from the young players throughout the summer 2018 golf camps, stating: “It was my first visit to Shetland and it was a thoroughly enjoyable experience teaching the juniors. It was great to see such enthusiasm from them and to introduce them to a new sport they all loved to play.
“Some of the kids actually travelled more than an hour to get involved, catching the ferry from the neighbouring island of Whalsay, which was a quite remarkable and encouraging show of commitment. The members of Shetland Golf Club couldn’t have been more accommodating and I’m hoping to return next summer to continue the camps and further develop the next generation of young players in Scotland.”
Grant Wiseman, Junior Conveyor at Shetland Golf Club, said: “We’re very grateful for Murray for coming across to coach our juniors and continue our ongoing development for young players in Shetland. We’ve been very committed this summer to inviting more young players to get involved with golf with the golf camps and weekly coaching sessions every Sunday throughout the summer. All of the children have loved every moment of it and we hope that we’ve been able to inspire some of Scotland’s future golfing talent.”
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How Scottish Golf can help
Clubs keen to replicate this success can now apply to Scottish Golf for funding, whereby your Regional Club Development Officer will work with you to engage a local ‘Roving’ PGA Professional. We can help fund the cost of that PGA professional to deliver a 10-week coaching block at your club for your junior or adult coaching programme.
In order for a club to access the funding a planning meeting will be held, prior to any coaching taking place, with the Regional Club Development Officer for that area. This will ensure plans are in place to support the club’s current coaching workforce and explore a more formal arrangement with the PGA Professional. The club and Regional Club Development Officer will then make a joint ‘bid’ for Roving Pro funding.
Visit here for more info: Scottish Golf Roving Pro Fund