Local primary school children had a day to remember at the Scottish Hydro Challenge on Thursday.
The 138 children, who are all playing golf at school through the national junior golf programme, clubgolf, spent the day watching European Challenge Tour players in action on the Macdonald Spey Valley golf Course before taking part in coaching clinics with resident PGA Professional, Murray Urquhart.
Tina Gibson, Active Schools Co-ordinator for the Kingussie cluster, took 48 Primary 5 and 6 year children from Kingussie and Aviemore primary schools.
“The children have learnt a lot about golf through clubgolf at school so they were really excited about coming today,” she said.
“They found it amazing seeing the professionals on the course and they enjoyed the putting competition and golf clinic with Murray.”
clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland, developed as a lasting legacy to Scotland’s successful bid to host The 2014 Ryder Cup.
“All the children we took today have had an introduction to the game through clubgolf at school and afterwards we encourage them to go to their local golf clubs for coaching,” said Tina. “A lot of these children wouldn’t have experienced golf if we didn’t deliver clubgolf in school because many of their parents aren’t involved in the game.
“With Aviemore, Kingussie and Newtonmore Golf Clubs all running clubgolf programmes there is a great set up locally so that children can keep progressing.”
With so many more children taking up the game the benefits of spending the day at a high profile European Challenge Tour should not be underestimated.
“To have a high profile golf event like this on our doorstep provides a brilliant opportunity for the children,” added Tina. “Golf is not only a great activity to be involved in, it teaches them so much more than the game itself.
“They’ve come along here and have had to develop the discipline to be quiet. They have learnt how a golf course and a competition works, which is great for them. Coming here will make a huge difference.”