Budding junior golfers are set to benefit from free golf and access to free golf equipment as part of an innovative partnership between the 2019 Solheim Cup and Golf Perthshire in a bid to make Perth & Kinross the most family-friendly golf destination in the world.
More than 80 sets of junior golf equipment have been purchased by Golf Perthshire and distributed to all 26 clubs across the region thanks to a £10,000 grant from the 2019 Solheim Cup Golf Development Programme with the aim of encouraging more young people into the sport.
In addition, the majority of golf clubs across Perth & Kinross have signed up to Golf Perthshire’s scheme to offer free golf to people under the age of 18 with a paying adult with the remainder introducing affordable family golf passes.
The move comes as Scotland prepares to host the 2019 Solheim Cup, the biggest event in women’s golf, from September 9-15 at Gleneagles. The contest will see the best female golfers from Europe, captained by Scotland's own Catriona Matthew, taking on their American counterparts, led by Juli Inkster.
Joe Fitzpatrick, Minister for Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing, said: “This is a terrific initiative by Golf Perthshire to promote the region as a world-leading family golf destination and I’m delighted that the 2019 Solheim Cup can support this project.
"Removing barriers to entry is key to encouraging participation in any sport or activity so offering free access to golf courses and free use of junior golf equipment opens the door for young people and families to engage in the sport, many of whom we hope will be inspired by hosting a world-class event on their own doorstep in September."
Golf tourism is worth in excess of £19m annually to the Perth & Kinross economy, supporting more than 520 jobs with the region being renowned as a popular family destination. The region already outperforms the rest of Scotland when it comes to the proportion of female golfing visitors (20% compared to the national average of 12%) and it is hoped this initiative will encourage more women and families to travel to Perth & Kinross to play golf.
Allan Minto, Project Manager for Golf Perthshire, added: “As well as being a great way to encourage greater participation in golf by young people who live in Perth & Kinross, this initiative will help achieve our ambition of being the most family-friendly golf destination anywhere in the world.
"Perth & Kinross is already hugely popular with general family holidaymakers and we hope this initiative will encourage visitors to try golf alongside some of the other popular outdoor pursuits on offer.