More young golfers in Ayrshire than ever before are being offered the chance to receive coaching from some of Scotland’s top coaches starting this autumn.
The Scottish Golf Development Centres programme is expanding to take players up to the age of 20 for PGA Professional coaching in small groups based on age, experience and ability across the country starting in September.
The first level offers 30 hours of tuition for those aged 11 to 16 who compete regularly in club competitions and junior medals, and with a maximum CONGU handicap of 36 for girls, and 28 for boys.
Level two is for golfers aged 12 to 17 who are contending in club medals and competing in local competitions with maximum handicap of 22 for girls and 18 for boys. They are offered 50 hours of coaching in a group of no more than eight players, with the option of a further 25 hours summer programme.
The third level offers the same number of hours and group sizes as level two, but is aimed at players aged 12 to 20 who are winning club medals, contending in local competitions and competing at regional and national level. The maximum handicap is 16 for girls, and 12 for boys. Players at all levels will be given a module workbook and skills assessment cards.
Almost three quarters of new players selected for the Scottish Golf Academy in 2014 came from the Scottish Golf Development Centres programme, including Will Porter, the 2015 Scottish Boys Champion.
Speaking about his first year in the programme, Malachy Hayward, now 13, said: “It’s been great, I’m really enjoying it. We go through short game, putting, long game, nutrition, and it’s definitely helped my short game. I’d definitely say come along and get coaching as it’s really helpful.”
His father, Larry Hayward, has noticed other benefits from the programme. He said: “This has taken Malachy up another level this winter, you can see it in his swing which is much cleaner and more consistent and he loves it. I think it has helped his schoolwork as well. I don’t know if it’s the steady improvement he’s seen, the idea of focusing on his work, I’ve seen his school work come on a lot as well.”
Eighteen year-old Katie Darling, who has been on the programme since it began in 2012, believes the coaching has helped improve her game as well as maintain it through the winter months when she is not regularly out on the course.
She said: “The programme has developed as I have and kept up with what I needed it to do. It has supported some of my weaker aspects and developed my stronger ones too. You learn specific techniques like how to get out of a bunker properly, how to putt, things you think you already know but you learn to do them better and in different ways so you can perform in different conditions.”
Programme Manager, Colin Bell, said: “This is the fourth year of Development Centres and we have worked with PGA professionals, facility managers, golfers and their parents to create an enhanced programme which we feel will now help accelerate the development of our young players, and create a pathway which works alongside the Scottish Golf Academy.”
Bookings must be made by Sunday 30 August. Details of the programme, costs and how to book can be found at www.clubgolfscotland.com/development-centres