Carnoustie Golf Links is hoping to tap into the buzz ahead of next year’s Open Championship to become the leading junior academy in Scotland.
Led by new senior PGA assistant, Keir McNicoll, the renowned Angus facility has taken successful early steps in implementing a new junior coaching programme aligned to ClubGolf.
Carnoustie Golf Links is to invest 600 hours of free coaching with the PGA professional team, including Keir, Sean Fay and Rebecca Tully, to drive the project forward.
They will deliver the ClubGolf programme and also pay 100% of the cost of junior memberships to local clubs and support transition.
The ambitious project couldn’t have been timed better, with The Open rolling into town in 2018 and set to create a sense of anticipation with locals of all ages.
“We looked to Scottish Golf for support and advice in planning and felt getting involved with ClubGolf was the best way to grow our junior numbers,” explained Keir, who has been working closely with Iain Evans, Regional Development Officer. “At my former club, Gullane, we were a ClubGolf facility and I thought it was a great way to get children involved.
“Carnoustie have made a pledge to junior golf and want people in the town to be involved in it as much as they can. We’re trying to reinvigorate things a little as a team, get back into the schools in the winter and try to get the children down to the course from April – October.”
The parent-junior registration evening on 28 April instantly proved popular, and already Carnoustie have 35-40 children attending coaching on both Saturday and Sunday mornings (one group for under-10s and the other for over-10s).
“It’s great, it’s a good start,” added Keir, who hails from Carnoustie. “Growing up, I was exposed to massive golf tournaments, like The Open at Carnoustie in 1999, so I’m hoping this Open will do the same for this next generation of juniors coming through Carnoustie.
“Hopefully it’ll give them that ‘wow’ factor in golf and inspire them to stay in the game. Some of them are aware of the golfers, so it’s about educating them that what is going to be on their doorstep is quite unique. As the Open comes closer, I’m sure they’ll want to understand more.”
All group coaching is free of charge and is open to any junior who meets any one of the following criteria: Season Ticket Holder of Carnoustie Golf Links; attends any primary school that acts as a feeder school to Carnoustie High School; attends Carnoustie High School.
Carnoustie Golf Links is also looking to become a Scottish Golf Development Academy.