Clubgolf camps return for second year

ClubGolf Camps will return for a second year in 2013 and clubs up and down the country are already clamouring to be part of what was a great success for junior golf last time around.

The inaugural ClubGolf Camps were initiated in 2012 as part of the wider ClubGolf Festival, which included a mass participation ‘VIP Event’ at Castle Stuart.

This saw over 400 ClubGolfers demonstrate their skills in front of prominent Scottish tour stars Colin Montgomerie and Martin Laird, as well as First Minister Alex Salmond.

In total, over 800 young golfers took part in the week-long summer camps, which were delivered by 53 clubs, and this year is going to be even bigger and better.

From July 1-5 2013, it is hoped that 75 camps will take part all over Scotland and more than 1000 children will be encouraged to join in with the fun.

One venue that enjoyed great success with the creation of ClubGolf Camps last summer was Dumfries and County and, indeed, it was one of the first to jump on board when ‘Early-Bird’ sign-up was offered to the clubs that delivered in 2012 last month. More than half of those venues agreed to host their second camp less than a week after registration commenced, which was no surprise to Dumfries and County Golf Club professional Stuart Syme.

“We saw ClubGolf Camps as an opportunity to get involved with kids that we haven’t engaged with yet through our own programmes of coaching and membership, and it turned out to be a big success.

“We sent out information about it using our membership database but also posted it on Facebook and Twitter to direct people back to the ClubGolf website, where they could sign-up.

“It all filled up no problem, so we are hopeful that we can get even more signed up this year from that same method, and we have had a bit of a response already.”

Aside from the success of inviting along a team of budding golfers for the duration of the week, in the longer term, Dumfries and County has also felt the benefit of incorporating the camps into its wider junior offering.

Not only did it help to attract new members into the club, but provided coaching materials which have been used to pique the interest of other youngsters making tentative steps in golf.

“We had 11 campers last year and five have signed up for membership so far, with a few forms still out there. So, we could be looking at a 70% success rate,” added Syme.

“It was great and the supply of materials allowed us to do some fun games. It didn’t follow the traditional format of getting kids to line up on the range and hit balls, where they only learn how to hit full shots.

“There was a great variety of putting, chipping, bunker play and also showing them the full game.”

Registration for all clubs looking to deliver a ClubGolf Camp for the first time in 2013 opens on March 11. However, with limited spaces available, interested club officials, professionals, coaches and volunteers are being urged to move quickly on that date to avoid disappointment. Camps will be allocated to clubs on a first come, first served basis.

All clubs that host a successful camp for the first time in 2013 will be given the resources required to deliver the five-day programme of events free of charge.

Returning ClubGolf Camp venues will be offered a re-imbursement of �100 to be invested towards the PGA Level 1 Advanced coaching course for an interested volunteer.

With another big summer in the offing, ClubGolf Manager Jackie Davidson is excited by the prospect of seeing more than 1,000 juniors pitch up at their local club and being exposed to golf with only 14 months to go until the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

“ClubGolf Camps form an important part of our bid to introduce as many children as possible to golf ahead of the Ryder Cup returning to Scotland in 2014,” she said.