Clubs and volunteers from across the country will go for glory at next month’s Scottish Golf Awards after the category finalists were shortlisted for the showpiece ceremony in Edinburgh.
After a judging panel whittled down a large number of entries, The Club of the Year Award – sponsored by Club Systems International and HowDidiDo – will be contested by The Blairgowrie Golf Club, Kingsfield Golf Centre, Mearns Castle Golf Academy and Muir of Ord Golf Club.
Having all achieved success thanks to their fantastic work in their community, the quartet will now have their eyes set on the top prize, with Scottish Golf’s reward of £1,500 matched by a £1,500 support package from the sponsors. Meantime, exceptional hard work, dedication and achievement sees four individuals in the running for the Volunteer of the Year Award, namely Helen Melvin (Lundin Ladies Golf Club), Les Mitchell (Haddington Golf Club), Margaret Neilson (Stirling Golf Club) and Douglas Slater (Stromness Golf Club).
Grounds Assistant Mitchell is bidding for a Haddington double after David Drew’s victory in the awards category last year, but will face stiff competition from Lundin Treasurer Melvin for her exceptional work with Get into Golf, while Neilson and Slater have both achieved great results within their respective junior sections.
The winners will be announced at the glittering Scottish Golf Awards, taking place at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange on Friday 24 February, hosted by Dougie Vipond and Alison Walker.
Jackie Davidson, Head of Development for Scottish Golf, said: “We congratulate the four clubs and volunteers shortlisted for each of our award categories, all of whom have demonstrated excellence in their work to grow the game.
“It is always really inspiring to read the stories from all the entries which highlight the commitment to developing golf in their local communities and delivering a great customer experience. We look forward to welcoming all the finalists as our guests at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange next month.”
The Club of the Year award – an accolade previously focused on junior golf – now recognises the efforts of those involved in developing all aspects of the game, from growing membership to developing coaching and making the game more accessible to families.
Kingsfield Golf Centre
For Kingsfield, this year offers the chance to emulate fellow Lothians club Prestonfield after their 2016 awards success.
The Centre, which offers a 9-hole course and a range of other modern facilities, has continued to work hard over the past 12 months to promote its renowned family-friendly environment. A base for the thriving Stephen Gallacher Foundation, Kingsfield started beginner classes for adults last year and their innovative approach to making the game more fun has seen the introduction of putting tournaments, 9-hole medals and simulator golf.
Mearns Castle Golf Academy
Over in the west, Glasgow club Mearns Castle has created a fun and friendly environment, recognised in the local community for being accessible for all. Their popular 9-hole course and 40-bay driving range is used by leading professionals Marc Warren and Scott Jamieson, with their membership growing year-on-year for the past six years. The club ran a hugely successful ‘Kids @ the Castle’ junior coaching programme in 2016, attended by over 140 children, while they renovated their old function room and turned it into a bespoke hall which now accommodates various local community groups.
The Blairgowrie Golf Club
Further north, 2014 Junior Ryder Cup host Blairgowrie has continued to build on its reputation. The Perthshire club has sought to meet the challenges that modern lifestyles demand, working especially hard on their customer experience to ensure the club is a go-to destination in the local area for members and non-members alike. Working in partnership with Scottish Golf, Blairgowrie’s Get into Golf and ClubGolf programmes continue to blossom, while innovative membership categories have helped ensure a waiting list for full membership and grown ladies and youth numbers.
Muir of Ord Golf Club
The Highland club has enjoyed one of the most successful years in their history, thanks to a host of positive initiatives undertaken by a proactive management and membership, as well as working with their Regional Development Officer, Willie MacKay.
Engaging with the governing body’s Business Planning programme, Muir of Ord turned a deficit into a profit over the financial year by engaging closely with their local community, with the recruitment of new sponsors bringing great rewards. The club has driven membership upwards and developed their coaching activities, while a partnership with ScotRail and their neighbouring clubs has boosted visitor numbers.
The Scottish Golf Awards is an evening not to be missed for golf fans, with tickets still available for this year’s event priced at £950 for a table of 10. To find out more, visit https://www.scottishgolf.org/who-we-are/golfawards/