The 311 Scottish golf clubs and facilities developing their junior sections through national junior programme ClubGolf have the opportunity to gain national recognition when the RBS Junior Club and Volunteer Awards are presented at a prestigious event in March.
A prize of £1,000 is up for grabs in the RBS Junior Club of the Year Award, while £500 will be presented to Scottish Golf’s leading volunteer at the annual Scottish Golf Awards, taking place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Glasgow on Friday 23 March.
Hosted by BBC commentator Andrew Cotter, anchor for last season’s Masters, Open Championship and Walker Cup, the Awards will celebrate the achievements of golfers and golf clubs across Scotland, raising funds to develop the country’s young golfers.
Numbers of juniors taking up golf across Scotland are at an all time high as a result of the flourishing national junior programme ClubGolf, supported by RBS, which has introduced 220,000 P5 children to golf. More than 12,675 children are now active in ClubGolf coaching at 311 clubs in Scotland, with an army of 1,575 hard-working volunteer coaches giving up their time to work with the youngsters.
Backed by 18-time Major champion Jack Nicklaus, RBS launched a 3½ year sponsorship of the programme last summer, to support ClubGolf’s development of golf in the community and encourage children to stay in the game.
The RBS Junior Golf Awards will reward clubs and volunteers that demonstrate excellence in promoting junior golf, with the winners receiving their prize alongside the biggest names in Scottish Golf, with former Open Champion Paul Lawrie and Ryder Cup captain Colin Montgomerie in attendance last year.
“We’re delighted to be supporting the Junior Awards, which highlight the tremendous work being done in golf communities across Scotland,” said Suzanne Williamson, Sponsorship Manager for RBS. “Our investment in Scottish Golf is focused on the grass roots of the game and these awards give something back to those who put in so much effort behind the scenes to ensure that golf remains accessible for our country’s youngsters.”
On hand at the RBS headquarters in Gogarburn were coaches and children from Turnhouse Golf Club, the first club in Edinburgh to offer ClubGolf coaching. Turnhouse now has 70 children on its ClubGolf programme taught by 17 coaches.
Volunteer coach Iain Holt is particularly pleased that the awards have been expanded to include more categories.
“There are a lot of clubs and volunteers out there working very hard to develop the game at grassroots level under different circumstances and in different environments,” said Iain. “I am pleased to see that different categories have been introduced for this prestigious award.
“This enhancement to the awards will give everybody involved with the ClubGolf programme a big boost to continue this essential work and give them recognition for their time and efforts.”
This year’s winners will join an illustrious list of names at the forefront of junior golf development typified by the reigning Junior Club of the Year, Orkney.
“Winning this award meant a huge amount to us and the whole event was an amazing experience,” said Orkney Golf Club’s Junior Administrator Janette Mackie.
“The publicity it generated really increased awareness of golf locally. Not only have we had more juniors joining as a result, we have seen a lot more adults taking up the game and more have joined than we have had in years.
“We are a small island but we have got a fantastic facility and dedicated volunteers but I believe that what we have achieved here can be done anywhere in Scotland.”
Palacerigg Golf Club’s junior convenor, Frank Anderson, winner of last year’s Volunteer of the Year category, is equally enthusiastic about the event.
“The Scottish Golf Awards was a brilliant evening and it was great to be acknowledged,” he said. “A lot of people have commented to me since about it and the prize money was very useful in buying new junior equipment.
“I volunteer because I enjoy it and I get a huge amount of satisfaction from it. This award isn’t just for me but for the club, our coaches and helpers. I’d definitely recommend others to nominate a volunteer or their club for this.”
To nominate your club for RBS Junior Golf Awards visit www.scottishgolf.org . All nominations must be received by 10 February 2012.
Tickets to the Scottish Golf Awards event cost £75 per person, or tables of 10 can be purchased at £700 (including VAT). You can buy your tickets on-line via the Scottish Golf Shop at www.scottishgolf.org or call the Ticket Hotline on 01334 466477.