How Royal Troon has invested in junior golf

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 24, 2019 06:53

Royal Troon Golf Club might have hosted the Open Championship nine times in its history, but the club is also looking to its future by investing in junior golf. Here, secretary Stephen Anthony details the extraordinary success the club has had in this area in the last two years.

Over the last 21 months Royal Troon Golf Club has been on a journey to stimulate interest in golf by introducing the game to all local school children in the community, with the simple aim of inspiring the next generation of golfers in Troon and surrounding areas.

The club’s professional, Kieron Stevenson, and his team have set up ‘The Royal Troon School of Golf’, open to all boys and girls aged five to 12. Since embarking on this initiative, which commenced in early 2018, the team has dedicated over 400 voluntary hours of free golf sessions at the seven primary schools in the Troon area. This resulted in over 3,000 children being given the opportunity to play golf during curriculum time. This was followed by free sessions in the spring at the club, to give children the opportunity to experience more aspects of the game in a proper golfing environment. In May 2018 and May 2019, Royal Troon hosted a magnificent free ‘Summer Golf Festival’ with over 220 boys and girls attending, enjoying fun games, receiving a free Golphin4Kids golf club and being entertained by an amazing trick shot show. In the wake of the festival, there were well attended summer and autumn camps which included a mixture of group tuition and fun games.

In December 2018 the professional team introduced a pilot project at Troon Primary School, providing all 360 children with one golf lesson per week for four weeks within curriculum time. This was followed by eight weeks of after-school clubs early in 2019. This programme followed the Scottish Education Curriculum of Excellence and was focussed on education, health and wellbeing and participation in sport for all.

The initiative is producing some excellent early results and there has been strong interest in membership of The Royal Troon School of Golf. Seventy children, a third of which are girls, have now signed up for the 2019 programme of events which began in April and take place every Sunday throughout the summer at the club’s practice range.

This year has also seen the introduction of a pre-membership feeder system, where up to 50 children are participating in weekday coaching sessions, preparing them for membership of the The Royal Troon School of Golf.

Royal Troon has granted full access for The Royal Troon School of Golf sessions to its 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. 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. A number of the initial intake to the school are now ready to make the transition to junior membership. 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.

The aim is to continue to build the momentum of the initiative and the professional team will be back to the primary schools of Troon in October for the next series of taster sessions. Head professional Kieron Stevenson and his assistants Adam, Gary and Euan have hugely enjoyed their involvement. Kieron explained: “Attracting young kids into golf is absolutely essential as we as PGA golf professionals try and compete with other sports and activities. The idea was to make golf fun, easy to understand and easy to learn. We partnered with Golphin4Kids 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 school teachers love it.”

Royal Troon school of golf. The professional and assistant pros gave lessons to pupils at Troon Primary
P1b are seen her with teacher Karen McClymont and Garry Foley & Adam Rolfe (Assistant Pro ) Keiran Stevenson (Pro) and Alsdair Cameron (Troon Captain)

Royal Troon’s captain, Alasdair Cameron, is delighted with the new initiative and commented: “Junior golfers are the life blood of our sport. It has been a huge commitment for Kieron and his team to get The Royal Troon 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 – well done to everyone involved.”

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir July 24, 2019 06:53
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1 Comment

  1. James July 31, 10:52

    It’s great to see leading Clubs and managers finally ‘switching-on’ to development & change. Still lots of work to do!

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