Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport, Shona Robison, and Scotland’s most successful women’s golf professional, Catriona Matthew MBE, today (Friday 19 August) announced new figures showing that record numbers of girls are being introduced to golf through clubgolf, Scotland’s junior golf programme.
So far this year 18,481 Primary 5 girls experienced golf at school through clubgolf’s introductory game, firstclubgolf. This figure represents the highest number of girls introduced to the game since clubgolf was launched in 2003 and is 49 percent of the total number of 37,790 children playing firstclubgolf at school in 2011. To date almost 220,000 children in Scotland have been introduced to golf through clubgolf, with the support of sportscotland’s Active Schools Network, primary schools across the country and all 32 of Scotland’s local authorities.
Speaking at the Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open at Archerfield Links today Minister for Commonwealth Games and Sport Shona Robison said:
“Increasing levels of participation in sport and physical activity is a top priority for the Government. We want more people of all ages to achieve the benefits that a more active and healthy lifestyle can bring. “The build up to Scotland hosting The Ryder Cup in 2014 provides an ideal focus for us to achieve a more active population and clubgolf is doing just that – giving primary school pupils the chance to pick up some clubs, gain confidence and then go on to be coached at clubs by qualified volunteers and pros.
"It is great to see these new figures which show a record number of girls have been introduced to golf through the club golf initiative. I hope that major events such as this weekend’s Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open and the RICOH Women’s British Open, held in Carnoustie last month will act as inspiration to these young people to continue to pick up their clubs and perhaps even go on to become this country’s golf stars of the future.”
Introducing record numbers of girls to golf is just the start. Last year 3000 girls took part in clubgolf coaching programmes at participating golf clubs. One of them, North Berwick’s Clara Young, invited to play in this week’s pro-am at Archerfield, competed for the GB&I Under-16s squad in June’s match against the Continent of Europe.
With the numbers of children in clubgolf programmes at clubs set to rise again this year, the figure for girls receiving coaching in clubs is expected to grow. A new three-year sponsorship with RBS is supporting the programme’s infrastructure with a focus on retaining youngsters being introduced to the game into structured coaching and junior club membership.
Catriona Matthew is a long term ambassador for clubgolf and its specific projects to get more girls playing which include encouraging girls-only coaching, fun competitions, social events, ‘buddy’ systems and activities at Ladies golf events.
This week at Archerfield 20 girls in local clubgolf programmes have been invited to take part in coaching clinics with professional Ladies European Tour players.
“I know that programmes set up by the clubgolf have done a great deal over recent years to encourage more girls to take up the game and I’ll be delighted to become involved in some way,” said Catriona Matthew.
“Putting golf into the primary schools and giving girls the opportunity to play is making a difference, and girls-only coaching is definitely helping keep more girls in the game. Encouraging girls to meet other girls that are playing golf will help keep them interested.And it’s good to see that juniors like Clara are coming right through the clubgolf programme and into the academies. It will encourage others.”
Said clubgolf Manager, Jackie Davidson: “We are delighted that the number of children experiencing golf through firstclubgolf continues to grow and particularly pleased to see more girls are having the opportunity to become involved each year. Clubgolf will continue to build upon strengthening partnerships to ensure delivery can be maximised going forward as we continue to strive towards target of introducing golf to every nine year old in Scotland by 2014.”
The Aberdeen Ladies Scottish Open is presented by EventScotland, the national events agency, as part of Scotland’s long-term commitment to golf across Scotland before and after The Ryder Cup in 2014.
Click here to find out more on how EventScotland invests in golf