Junior programme proves a big hit

A junior programme run by Dundonald Links has seen around 1,400 children in primary schools in North Ayrshire receive coaching over the past two years.

Iain Colquhoun, the Director of Golf, introduced the “Links to Golf” Junior Programme in February 2017 in the build up to the club hosting the Aberdeen Standard Investments Scottish Open for the first time later in the year.

“I was fortunate enough to experience junior coaching from a young age, as did a number of my staff, and we felt we could offer something back to the local community and encourage the younger generation to enjoy this wonderful game,” said Colquhoun in taking up the story.

“We reached out to North Ayrshire Active Sports, inviting all 53 primary schools within North Ayrshire to take part in our Links to Golf (L2G) programme. The aim was to introduce golf to kids aged between P4-P7 and have them experience the game of golf.”

The coaching sessions were completely free with all costs covered by Dundonald Links and its sister course, Loch Lomond Golf Club, with the only cost to the schools being the transport of pupils from point A to point B.

“Along with myself, my PGA Professionals and qualified assistants, we ran two-hour  coaching sessions twice a week which covered numerous aspects of the game,” added Colquhoun.

“We had a block of lessons pre-summer holidays and a block post-summer holidays. Each session covered team activities, nature in golf walks, tuition of the swing, longest drive competitions, putting challenges etc….our focus was to make it fun for all which we certainly achieved.

“In year one, we had 626 kids take part and, in a bid to improve the programme, we delivered a feedback document which the class as a whole had to feedback on. Some of the kids within the groups came out there shell which was extremely satisfying for us as coaches.”

With a few minor elements having been changed to keep it fresh, the programme has proved equally popular this year, with 812 kids taking part.

“On the back of year one, we have been informed of kids joining local clubs around the area and also taking part in additional coaching sessions throughout North Ayrshire including ourselves,” said Colquhoun.

“For me, if I’m able to meet someone in 10 years’ time who plays golf and ask them the question, where did it start for you and they said L2G I’d be delighted. This is a real team effort to grow the game and give others the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful sport.”

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