Time is running out for aspiring golfers to sign-up for an outstanding coaching opportunity, which former Ryder Cup star Andrew Coltart believes could produce Scotland’s next crop of talented stars.
The Scottish Golf Development Centre programme, backed by Coltart at its launch last year, will see kids aged between 11-17 given 40 hours of tuition and advice on the most crucial areas of the game.
And, with applications for new recruits being accepted at 34 venues before the deadline of Thursday 31 October, there is little time remaining to take advantage of the scheme the two-time European Tour winner is certain will mould more promising golfers into successful pros.
“I’m backing the Development Centres because I believe they provide an excellent platform to enhance youngsters’ golfing abilities,” said Coltart, who sits on the SGU’s Performance Committee.
“From this, I am expecting to see youngsters better equipped in all of the attributes required to become a successful golfer. I have no doubt it will help Scotland produce more golfing stars.”
Aimed at bridging the gap between ClubGolf coaching at the early stages of a child’s development and the Scottish Golf Academy, Development Centre sessions will be led by specially-selected PGA Professionals.
Throughout the 10-week block, each player will be monitored by this Development Coach using the same skills assessments that measure the progress of Scottish Golf’s Academy and National Squad players.
As such, Development Centres are expected to provide a valuable tool in identifying the most promising talent for promotion to the next stages of the Scottish Golf player pathway.
Coltart added: “Coming through Development Centres and entering the Scottish Golf Academy set up should be a simple transition as everyone will be singing from the same hymn sheet, and working towards the same goal.
“The kids will be able to implement what they have learned and enhance their abilities against stiffer challenges and competitions.
“This support is second to none and we should see Scotland producing young men and women capable of reaching the very top of the professional game.”
Early evidence following the first year of the Development Centres supports Coltart’s assertion. Almost 300 youngsters took part in Phase 1 of the programme which, for many, led to some remarkable improvements. This was no more evident than in the case of Kieran Wyness, who reduced his handicap from 18.2 to 11 after being involved in coaching at Gullane.
Similar success was experienced by Glenbervie’s Jennifer Allan, who halved her handicap from 12 to 6 over the course of the 2013 season, crediting her Development Coach David Patrick from Kingsfield Golf Centre.
Sixteen Development Centre golfers were also given the opportunity of playing alongside Ryder Cup captains Tom Watson and Paul McGinley at the recent ‘Year to Go’ celebrations on the PGA Centenary Course, Gleneagles.
To find out how to submit a self-nomination form for your local Scottish Golf Development Centre before the fast-approaching deadline, and for availability, visit www.clubgolfscotland.com/development-centres