by Jenny Cleeton
The Junior Ryder Cup at Blairgowrie Golf Club welcomed thousands of school children from across Perth and Kinross to learn about golf courtesy of the ClubGolf initiative, which has been bringing the game of golf to youngsters as part of a 2014 Ryder Cup initiative.
Each school that attended brought up to 30 children to take part in the activities organized by the dedicated ClubGolf team. Local player Bradley Neil has received the most encouragement from both his primary and secondary schools as the kids also got a chance to go out and watch the future golf stars in action.
The students from Blairgowrie High School were very excited to see Neil play, whether they were in classes together, passed in the corridors or had only just heard his name.
Mark Johnston, a fourth year student, said: “It’s really cool to see someone who we used to pass in school. I didn’t know him really personally but he was someone who was friends with most folk.”
“It nice to come along to an event so close to our school and know a person who is competing,” the Blairgowrie High School student continued.
It’s not only the high school students who are excited to see an ex-pupil play. Rattray Primary School, the primary school which Neil attended, has also come along to Blairgowrie to cheer the school own local celebrity on has he plays.
Each child was giddy as they were given their Junior Ryder Cup caps, already talking about where they want to get a signature.
Neil’s ex-headteacher, Mrs Brenda Kerr, said: “It is such an exciting opportunity for Bradley. He has always stayed in touch with the school sending over gifts and doing talks.”
“Bradley always had a smile on his face and if there was a ball, he would kick it. No matter what though, golf has always been his game. It is so good to see his hard work paying off.”
Kate Sheppard, the marketing executive for Club Golf, said: “On the first day Blairgowrie saw 3000 people here for the initiative. They got the opportunity to play and watch which they seemed to love. It is amazing to see how many children have started to play golf since the initiative was started.”
As well as Club Golf, there is also a new Get Into Golf initiative which has been started up by the same organisers.
Will MacKay, the Highland and Islands manager said, “Club Golf is really successful but we started noticing parents looking interested. They would go to the club and initially have a coffee but before long they were trying to get out to practice themselves.” He explains, “We have even started family camps after parents spending their time watching at the kids camps. It lets them spend time as a family and show that golf is in fact a fun and family activity.”
Blairgowrie has been a buzz with children over the past two days as well as other members and people from surrounding clubs and communities. It has been noted a number of times from various people that this Junior Ryder Cup at Blairgowrie Golf Club has been the biggest yet.