Former European Tour pro Craig Lee has set up his very own junior golf foundation with an aim to attracting more youngsters to the game.
Lee, now a PGA pro teaching from his home studio in Stirling, held a European Tour card for six seasons in a row from 2012 and now wants to give back to the game by safeguarding its future.
His new foundation, named the Craig Lee Foundation, has been formed on the back of Lee’s shock at the lack of junior representation at grassroots level across Scotland.
“When I have been going about Scotland to golf clubs, most of the clubs said that they didn’t have junior members, anyone to coach them or even junior convenors,” explained Lee to bunkered.co.uk.
“That shocked me. I had presumed that most clubs would have had juniors involved in some way. The foundation is going to be geared towards going to clubs, delivering lessons and helping run junior sections. I’ll be going to golf clubs and helping them bring in juniors and fill that void which seems to be missing across Scotland.”
As Lee seeks to travel Scotland, providing clubs with a way to grow junior membership, he says he will be doing so with the target of connecting local kids to their golf clubs.
“To me, getting kids interacting with the golf club is key to transforming them into young adult members,” he added. “I’m hoping to operate foundation days, which will be one-off all-day events, which will feature coaching, golf course experience and a bit of fun. With everyone interacting with each other, you create a better community atmosphere and that should help sustain junior memberships.
“I found a lot of clubs, who perhaps run junior coaching, get some kids for an hour or so and then they disappear off home. There’s no interaction with the golf club, and that’s what I want to change.”
To implement this change, Lee, 43, has sent a rallying call to his fellow pros as he admits that he will have to take on some extra bodies to help him deliver his junior dream.
“I’ll definitely need to get three or four other pros on board to help me out," said the Scot. "I’m hoping to be able to get some funding behind me which will hopefully be a bit more of a carrot for other pros, who will know they will actually get paid what they are worth.
"I think attracting other pros is going to be one of the biggest hurdles. Funding will just be down to me, so I’m definitely going to have to do a bit of fundraising.”
As well as the foundation days, Lee will be operating regular coaching sessions within the Stirlingshire area and makes it clear that he is gearing his foundation towards all levels of ability and not just junior beginners.
“I’d like to get some real good junior players involved," he said. "I feel that with my tour experience, I can help coach these kids and take them to a good level. Hopefully, I can spread whatever knowledge I’ve got. If can do the job right, the kids enjoy it and they keep coming back, then it will have been a success.”
For more information on the new junior foundation, follow Craig Lee on twitter @CRAIGLEE337.