Eyemouth all set to host Scottish Girls' Championship

THE Scottish Girls Championships begin at Eyemouth Golf Club next week and preparations are in full swing with greens staff working long hours to put the course in tip-top condition.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 7th July 2010, 12:37 pm
Updated Wednesday, 7th July 2010, 12:37 pm

Having been chosen as the venue for this year's girls championships last autumn, preparations for the forthcoming event have been on going, and the club are now pretty happy with the course. "We're hoping for a little bit of rain at the moment, it's all getting a bit dry," said former club captain Bob Wortley, "But we don't want any during the competition!"

The competition, for girls who were under 18 years of age on January 1 this year, will begin on the Eyemouth course on Monday with the Grand Final due to take place next Saturday (July 17).

"It's a real feather in the cap of the club because it's a national event, not something that many Borders clubs do," Bob continued. "I think they picked Eyemouth to stage the championships because it is a good course with a good reputation, but also because it is quite a testing course, and we were happy to bend over backwards to help them.

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"Some of the competitors have been up for a practise and they have all been very pleased with everything."

Unfortunately the Championships won't feature any Eyemouth golfers, with the nearest entrants from Goswick and Kelso.

"There's 90 competitors for the whole of Scotland and the number of young female players is quite small in Eyemouth," Bob said.

"We can get young lads involved but not many girls. But having events like the Girls Championships in the area can only have advantages - we hope it will help to generate some interest."

As well as hosting this year's Scottish Girls Championships, Eyemouth Golf Club have this week been shortlisted for the annual clubgolf junior club of the year awards in recognition of their work with young people.

Organised by Scotland's national junior programme clubgolf and the Scottish Golf Union (SGU), Eyemouth are one of seven clubs to be shortlisted, with the award destined for a club that has demonstrated excellence in promoting junior golf during 2009.

Following a thorough evaluation by clubgolf's judging panel the final seven clubs have been narrowed down to Eyemouth, Gullane GC (East Lothian), McDonald GC (Ellon, Aberdeenshire), Orkney GC, Palacerigg GC (North Lanarkshire), Powfoot GC (Dumfries & Galloway) and The Royal Montrose GC (Angus).

According to clubgolf, all seven clubs have demonstrated enormous commitment to developing their junior sections.

Eyemouth Golf Club have been encouraging young people to take part in the sport by implementing free membership for primary school children, and cheap membership for those of secondary school age.

T

he winning club will be announced at The Old Course, St Andrews, next Wednesday, July 14, the final practice day for The Open Championship, with all finalists invited to send two adults and two children to The Open on this day.

"We're working on the principal that most of us are retirement age plus, and the average age of golfers is mid to late fifties," Bob explained. "We desperately need to encourage young membership. As one of our friends in Edinburgh put it - If we get a hard frost we could lose half our membership!"

The SGU will award the winning club 1,000, to be invested in its junior programme. It will also be invited to put forward a team of three adult members to play in a European Tour pro-am, playing alongside a leading professional golfer. The six runners up clubs will each receive 300 from the SGU to help develop their junior programmes.

Clubgolf's East of Scotland regional manager, Laura Rushby, said: "Through the hard work and dedication of PGA Pro Michael Hackett, his assistant Daniel Wood, Junior Convenor Bob Holmes and helper Jim Martin, Eyemouth Golf Club is transforming its junior section and has quadrupled its junior membership in just three years.

"In a forward thinking approach they link with schools and offer clubgolf coaching during school holidays and after school, they offer free membership to juniors under 12 and have set up a target golf area and mini course."

Ms Rushby said that Eyemouth Golf Club engages with the local community and has been helping out with golf activities at the local primary schools, as well as organising an open day to encourage families to come and try golf and are currently building links and planning activities with Eyemouth High School.

"During the last year they have achieved two major successful grants from Awards for All to build an indoor golf analysis area, and from the Postcode Lottery Trust to purchase equipment and help with coach education costs," Ms Rushby said, adding: "I am delighted that Eyemouth is in the final and are being recognised for its great efforts and the success it is bringing them."