Over 3,000 local primary school kids in and around Troon have been given golf lessons during curriculum time thanks to the efforts of Royal Troon Golf Club.
The Open venue’s professional team has dedicated over 400 hours of voluntary work to all boys and girls from the ages of 5-12 as a means of introducing the game to the local community.
The initiative started in early 2018 and included free coaching sessions at the club. In May last year, Royal Troon hosted a Summer Golf Festival with over 220 boys and girls attending, having fun games and each receiving a free Golphin club. This was followed by a number of well-attended Summer and Autumn camps.
In December last year, Royal Troon professional Kieron Stevenson introduced a pilot project at Troon Primary School providing all kids from Primary 1-7 with one golf lesson per week for four weeks during curriculum time. This was followed by eight weeks of after-school clubs early this year.
According to the club, the initiative has produced some excellent results and created strong interest in membership to the Royal Troon School of Golf. A total of 70 kids, a third of which are girls, have signed up to the 2019 programme of events.
This year will also see the introduction of a pre-membership feeder system, where up to 50 children will be participating in weekday coaching sessions, preparing them for membership of the 'School of Golf'.
The kids get full access to the club’s brand-new Covered Bays facility, which was specially designed to accommodate the group coaching of children. In addition, youngsters will have supervised access to the Craigend and Portland courses as they progress through the three stages of the School of Golf.
On completion of this junior programme, and having been assessed by the Professional Team, those involved will have the appropriate golfing and life skills to become future golf club members, whether at Royal Troon or at other local clubs.
At Royal Troon, boys and girls can join as Junior Members at age 12 and enjoy the benefits of a supported pathway through to full membership of the club.
Head professional Stevenson said it was “essential” that the club tried to compete with other sports to get the kids’ attention.
“The idea was to make golf fun, easy to understand and easy to learn,” said Stevenson. “We partnered with Golphin and utilise their coaching system MyPathway2Golf. It’s a holistic approach to golf and includes health, wellbeing, education and life skills at its core. The kids and teachers love it”
Royal Troon club captain Alasdair Cameron said he was delighted with the work of everyone involved.
“Junior golfers are the lifeblood of our sport,” he said. “It has been a huge commitment for Kieron and his team to get the School of Golf up and running and we’re delighted at its early success. The rewards for us all are to see so many youngsters having fun playing golf.”