Driving (and chipping and putting) school goes well

Hawick Golf Club's clubgolf volunteer coach David Wilson shows one eager pupil the ropes at Gleneagles last month during the Johnnie Walker Championships.
Hawick Golf Club's clubgolf volunteer coach David Wilson shows one eager pupil the ropes at Gleneagles last month during the Johnnie Walker Championships.

SCOTLAND’S Ryder Cup player Andrew Coltart has congratulated the coaching team behind Hawick Golf Club’s new academy, a clubgolf programme which has brought in 75 new young golfers into the game and more than trebled the club’s junior membership in the first year.

In a major drive to modernise its junior set-up last winter, Hawick’s level two volunteer coach David Wilson and sportscotland active schools co-ordinator Paul Scott gave taster sessions to every P5, 6 and 7 child in the town’s 10 primary schools.

So huge was the response that the club launched its first junior academy.

Its aim was to offer every local junior structured coaching through the national programme, clubgolf, given by Wilson, fellow volunteer coaches, Douglas Crawford, Stuart Hunter and Graeme Tinlin and the club’s PGA professional Keith Morgan.

“From nothing, we started off with 55 academy members and it has since grown to 75,” said Wilson, who invited Coltart and European Tour coach Gary Nicol to the academy’s official opening in April.

“Before we started the academy, our junior section was down to about 30, but now we have more than 100 junior members.”

The success has long-term benefits for the health of the club and also for golf in the Borders. clubgolf’s east regional manager Laura Rushby is working to bring all local clubs together to form a Borders junior league and having more youngsters involved can only help.

“The first academy season has been very successful,” added Wilson. “We now have a very strong core of players and if they keep improving we could have a really strong junior team in a few years.”

Coltart is delighted with the success of the academy’s first year.

He said: “The obvious success of the academy at Hawick Golf Club is down to a few members who unselfishly give up their time, along with a modern-thinking golf club, which realises the importance of juniors to the survival of not just the local club but also the golfing traditions in the region.

“It is people like David we should look up to and thank for doing everything they can for Scottish golf. Congratulations.”