Over 300 children from local primary schools and golf clubs enjoyed an exhilarating day at the Scottish Hydro Challenge at the Macdonald Spey Valley Golf Course this week.
The children, all playing golf through EventScotland’s national junior golf programme, clubgolf, had were photographed with The Ryder Cup trophy, had coaching clinics with European Challenge Tour players as well as watching Europe’s future stars tackle the Spey Valley.
Team Scottish Hydro player Gavin Dear, was one of the competitors who gave his time to give the clubgolfers the benefits of his experience.
“I wanted to show them the ball moving a couple of different ways and give them some encouragement to go out and play themselves,” said Dear, an integral part of the Scottish Teams that won both the 2008 World and 2009 European Amateur Team Championships.
“The kids seemed all very keen and enthusiastic and I think that introducing so many children at a young age through clubgolf is a great thing for Scottish golf. We are the home of golf so we should be doing everything we can to encourage lots of kids to get involved.”
clubgolf has been associated with the Scottish Hydro Challenge for three years and in that time numbers of children attending coaching clinics have grown from 90 in 2009 to well over 300 this week.
With clubgolf creating a boom in junior golf, linking with high profile events is having a lasting impact.
“This has been a memorable day out for the children, and one which will help keep them motivated and involved in golf,” said, Active Schools Co-ordinator Dawn Horsburgh, who took 100 children from her Grantown cluster on Friday.
“The children are loving the game, having a lot of fun developing their skills and many of them are becoming junior members in their local golf clubs.
“We have some really good golfers coming through the clubgolf programme. Some of the kids here are showing really good potential and are going on to great things.”
The junior clinics concluded clubgolf’s week-long involvement in the Scottish Hydro Challenge. In Monday’s Scottish Hydro Challenge Pro-Am 60 clubgolf volunteer coaches experienced an unforgettable day in the company of European Challenge Tour players.
“We appreciate greatly the support of all European Tour staff, resident professional Murray Urquhart and his enthusiastic team, the Active Schools Co-ordinators, volunteer coaches and school staff for ensuring the week ran so smoothly,” said clubgolf’s Highland and Islands Regional Manager, Willie MacKay.
“Thank you to Scottish Hydro, Gavin Dear, Iain Stoddart of Bounce Sports Management, and Ryder Cup Europe for creating this fantastic opportunity for our youngsters.”