Jul 1 2011 Perthshire Advertiser Friday
GOLF legend Jack Nicklaus was back at Gleneagles this week as part of a deal to encourage the next generation into the sport.
The Golden Bear, who designed the course for the forthcoming Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, tee-d off the partnership between the Royal Bank of Scotland and golf organisations watched by pupils from Auchterarder Primary School.
RBS has agreed a three-year partnership with Scottish Golf to support its national junior golf programme, clubgolf. Started eight years ago as part of the bid to stage the Ryder Cup in 2014, clubgolf works to introduce every primary school child to golf by the age of nine.
Last year saw 37,000 youngsters try the sport, made possible by more than 1,400 qualified coaches from over 300 local golf clubs.
Clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union (SGU), Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association (SLGA), the Professional Golfers’ Association (PGA), Golf Foundation and sportscotland, funded by the Scottish Government. It is also supported by EventScotland and the European Tour as well as many of Scotland’s leading professionals including Colin Montgomerie, Paul Lawrie and Catriona Matthew.
Ryder Cup winning captain Monty told the PA during a showcase event in Perth last year he’d actively like to see greater school involvement in golf for the 2014 event both at local and national level.
The programme will see the RBS Junior Club of the Year Awards created to recognise clubs making an outstanding contribution to the development of the game in their community.
The Golden Bear said: “I’m passionate about the future of our game and introducing golf to juniors, providing access, equipment, instruction and the opportunity to enjoy the game.
“It (Clubgolf) has been created to help ensure that future generations of players from Scotland, the home of golf, are enjoying our game.
First Minister Alex Salmond, added: “This sponsorship deal between Royal Bank of Scotland and Scottish Golf to further fund and promote clubgolf over the next three years is continued evidence of the commitment business is making to sport.
“Scotland’s future golfing prowess will owe much to getting young people interested in the sport as early as possible. Today clubgolf is doing just that – giving primary school youngsters the chance to pick up some clubs, gain some confidence and then go on to be coached at clubs by qualified volunteers and pros. We are introducing record numbers of young people to the game.
“Youngsters who began clubgolf a few years ago have progressed through to the Scottish Golf Academy programme as well as our national squads. And who knows – some of those young sportsmen and women could go on to become this country’s golf stars of the future - perhaps even turning out for the European Ryder Cup team and the Solheim Cup team?”
Jackie Davidson, clubgolf manager, said: “We are delighted to bring RBS on board as the official sponsor of clubgolf. Their support and investment provides a significant boost for the programme and will not only help us achieve our target of introducing golf to every nine-year-old in Scotland by 2014 but will also further enable us to support clubs in retaining and growing junior membership.”
David Webb from RBS said: “We have changed our approach to sponsorship at RBS. The clubgolf programme in partnership with Scottish Golf serves as further notice of our commitment to use our rich heritage in the sport to drive a better future for young golfers.”