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23/08/13 15:16

ClubGolf Roving Pro Fund

FM announces initiative giving young golfers access to pros to improve their skills.

A new scheme that will give young golfers access to golf professionals to hone their skills and nurture their growing talent has been launched by First Minister Alex Salmond.

The £155,000 Roving Pro Fund will offer grants to golf clubs across the country, helping them to hire a qualified PGA professional golfer to deliver ClubGolf coaching and develop the next generation of golfers in Scotland.

The First Minister said the new fund would help motivate the children progressing through the ClubGolf programme, which has so far introduced 260,000 young people to the game since the inception of the scheme in 2003.

The project is supported by equal investment from ClubGolf and Ryder Cup Europe and was announced by the First Minister at the Johnnie Walker Championship at Gleneagles alongside ClubGolf Manager Jackie Davidson, Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills and Professional Golfers’ Association Chief Executive Sandy Jones.

The new fund has been created following a review which showed ClubGolf clubs are coming under pressure as a growing number of children seek to continue coaching beyond ClubGolf stage 1 but cannot access suitably qualified coaches.

First Minister said:

"ClubGolf is doing a fantastic job in introducing children to the game as well as encouraging them to remain in the sport by providing pathways to their local golf club. This new initiative will help develop the skills they require to enjoy this great game and I am delighted that now even more youngsters will have the chance to work and learn alongside pros who will inspire the next generation of golfers.

“Having a fund whereby both clubs and professionals can benefit is an excellent initiative and I’m delighted that clubs that can’t afford to have a full-time pro will now also be able to benefit from the crucial part they have to play in the golf industry.

“I am delighted to announce this new £155,000 of funding, which offers assistance by providing youngsters access to a ‘Roving Pro’ which will mean more of them are able to progress in the game, keeping them motivated and helping them fulfil their potential.

“Scotland is the Home of Golf, and clubs are the lifeblood of this magnificent sport - we need to introduce the next generation of players and champions of the future to the game at an early stage. ClubGolf has been doing exactly that and it is great to see that golf clubs across Scotland will benefit from the skills of some of the finest pros we have in our country.”

Many facilities across the country do not operate with an on-site PGA Professional while there is also a shortage of Level 2 coaches, the qualification required to teach ClubGolf Stage 2.

ClubGolf Manager Jackie Davidson outlined the way in which the Roving Pro Fund would help to address a current shortcoming in ClubGolf Level 2 volunteers, she said:

“The Roving Pro Fund will support clubs in accessing funding to engage a qualified PGA Professional from the local area to deliver a 10-week block of ClubGolf coaching. We have identified areas in which this need is greatest, where there are very few qualified Level 2 coaches and, as such, this is where the fund will be targeted.”

Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills is delighted that the investment from the Ryder Cup is being utilised to make a huge impact at club level, he said:

“Along with the creation of the Coach Developer roles, which were announced last month, we are very confident that our investment will make a real difference at grass roots level in allowing more children to receive quality coaching from a PGA professional. One of the greatest challenges that the Ryder Cup faces in Europe is how to create a lasting legacy of hosting the match for the host countries. Through ClubGolf in Scotland, I believe that we are leaving one of the strongest sustainable models for the future, through which more and more young people every year will be introduced to and begin to play this great game.”

Professional Golfers’ Association Chief Executive Sandy Jones is optimistic about the creation of the Roving Pro Fund and the potential for further development for children who can now access a professional working within their local area, he said:

“The PGA professional plays a vital role at the heart of golf, a fact that is no more evident in their ability to inspire young golfers and help them to reach their potential. Having a fund whereby both clubs and professionals can benefit is a terrific initiative and I’m delighted that clubs that aren’t able to have a full-time pro will now also be able to benefit from the pivotal part they have to play in the golf industry. The PGA Professional makes a massive contribution to the growth and development of the game of golf, and this scheme will be an important facet of this at a junior level.”

Notes to editors

In addition to coaching, responsibilities of the Roving Pro will be to signpost suitably talented players for further coaching in Scottish Golf Development Centres and promote ClubGolf activity at the club in local schools, as well as linking into the club at committee level.

In order for a club to access the funding, a planning meeting will be held prior to any coaching taking place with the Regional Manager for that area, which will ensure plans are in place to support the club’s current coaching workforce and explore a more formal arrangement with the PGA Professional. The club and Regional Manager will then make a joint ‘bid’ for Roving Pro funding.

In year one, it is expected that 51 coaching blocks will be delivered with this number dropping to 29 in year two and 14 in year three, as clubs accessing the fund in previous years establish sustainable models for coaching.

ClubGolf is Scotland's national junior golf programme which is delivering its Ryder Cup pledge by introducing children to golf and supporting the early development of young golfers through structured coaching.

By creating opportunities for every child in Scotland to access golf, strong foundations are being laid for the future health of Scottish golf clubs and Scottish performances worldwide.

The Scottish Government has given a further commitment of £2 million to support the core ClubGolf programme from 2014-2018.

ClubGolf has been successful in supporting volunteering through a coaching workforce of over 1,500.

The ClubGolf programme is also funded by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which is supporting the development of golf at a community level in Scotland for the next two years. Its sponsorship also features the RBS Junior Club and Volunteer of the Year Awards, which rewards clubs and individuals making an outstanding contribution to the game at the grass roots. Further information on ClubGolf can be found at www.clubgolfscotland.com