The growth of Carnoustie’s junior section in the last year

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 26, 2021 13:10

Even though the pandemic has disrupted so much for so many in the last year, Carnoustie’s junior programme performed stronger than ever.

Despite the challenges and impact that coronavirus had on golf in the last year, golf development at Carnoustie Golf Links has continued to grow from strength to strength.

Carnoustie boasts one of the UK’s largest golf development programmes with hundreds of children participating each week, including over 60 girls, underlining the continued interest in the women’s game.

Last summer’s ‘Carnoustie Craws Junior Golf Academy’ saw 232 children participate weekly in Carnoustie Golf Links’ golf coaching groups with golfers ranging from the age of five to 16 years old. The consistent weekly coaching, led by the PGA professionals in the golf development team and supported by approved volunteers, allowed the young ‘Craws’ to improve the various skills involved in golf such as putting, chipping, pitching, iron play and driving. Combined with being active and outdoors, these sessions were great for the children to get together with their peers and gain more experience in the game.

Using the ‘My Pathway to Golf’ platform, aspiring young golfers can track their progress and keep in touch with coaches. Each week, the Craws were also encouraged to play golf during the ‘playing sessions’ and to utilise Carnoustie’s developmental course – The Nestie, and The Burnside Course. Progression through the five-level, ‘On Course Playing Pathway’, is the goal for every young golfer and will allow each golfer to reach their potential at their own pace.

‘Advanced Golfers’ group

Through the success and progression of the Carnoustie Craws, the Advanced Golfers group has grown massively in the last year with 29 players attending weekly coaching sessions and playing regularly in club competitions by late 2020. With an age range of 11-18 years old, and handicaps from 33 to two, this group is a mix of golfers, many of whom will go on to become Carnoustie adult club golfers of the future.

Weekly group coaching sessions allowed this group of players to come together and further establish their relationships, while challenging and enhancing their skills through specific performance training games and drills.

Playing competitively is also a huge part of development at this stage and through weekly club competitions, a ‘Summer Holidays Order of Merit’ and match play competitions, the Advanced Golfers were able to gain valuable experience and improve throughout last season.

Angus County

During the October break the Angus County Golf Association hosted its annual team and individual championships.

Carnoustie Golf Links’ head professional Keir McNicoll, responsible for managing the programme, said: “With the advanced group of Carnoustie Craws growing in 2020, it was important to see this group of players pushing themselves at a higher level, with 15 players in the starting field for the individual stroke play championship at Downfield Golf Club”.

After some mixed fortunes in the qualifying round, seven Carnoustie Craws made it to the match play stages of the event with Rory Bain finishing runner-up in the Scratch Championship and Harry Robertson winning the Handicap Championship.

In the team championship at Monifieth Golf Links, Carnoustie players were again showing their promise as the three teams entered in the event produced some fantastic scores. The Carnoustie Club team (Harry Robertson, Finlay Elrick, Kyan Low and Andrew Strathdee) came close to winning the event, finishing three shots behind a strong Downfield Golf Club team.

Season finale

After a fantastic, Covid-19-shortened, 11 week summer schedule, the 2020 Carnoustie Craws season culminated with a series of October holiday camps for ‘My Pathway 2 Golf’ groups and a Carnoustie Craws ‘Ryder Cup’ for the Advanced Golfers group – allowing all the young golfers to finish off the season on a high.

Speaking on the matter, Carnoustie Golf Links’ chief executive, Michael Wells, was “delighted” with the progression of the Carnoustie Craws under the circumstances that everyone has faced in the last 12 months and is keen to build on the success of the programme this year.

He commented: “Golf was one of the activities that children could get back into quickly after the first lockdown measures were eased and as an organisation, we felt it was really important to provide an opportunity for children to get out and get involved.”

Local councillor and Carnoustie trustee, David Cheape, added: “Golf is such a great sport to learn as a young person as it provides so many great experiences and opportunities, while also allowing you to spend time with your friends. Having been starved of this for months, it was very inspiring to see so many children getting back to what they do best – playing and learning.”

The Carnoustie Craws Junior Golf Academy is a developmental golf programme dedicated to young people. The programme is provided at no cost to Carnoustie-based children who are interested in the game and more information can be found here: www.carnoustiegolflinks.com/junior The programme in anticipated to resume in spring 2021

 

Alistair Dunsmuir
By Alistair Dunsmuir February 26, 2021 13:10
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