FORRES Golf Course has a track record of producing great players.
Former juniors who went on to bigger things include Bryan Fotheringham who represented Scotland from 2005-06, and Jeff Wright, who finished third in the Scottish Golf Union order of merit last year and is optimistic for national selection in 2016.
There are currently 27 juniors at Forres, half of who attend coaching regularly but, with numbers in decline, the club is looking to the future with a recruitment drive for junior members who want to be the next pro’ or simply just play the game.
“There are numerous reasons for less youngsters taking up golf,” explained junior secretary Nige Parsons.
“More dynamic sports activities are on the market these days, video games offer a distraction, and there is peer pressure from non-golfers to follow other pastimes.
“Some are put off because golf is also technically difficult to master so achievements take longer with few exceptions.”
However, following a recent meeting with representatives from Moray Active Schools, the Scottish Golf Union and Scottish Golf, a plan is in place to make the game more attractive to prospective local juniors.
“Fun is the buzz word of this year,” said junior secretary Nige Parsons. “We want more folk to come and try the game at Forres Golf Club while enjoying a day out with friends or family.
“Who knows, they could be the next Rory McIlroy or Charley Hull!”
ClubGolf was launched in 2003 to introduce children to the sport and create a development pathway from entry level through to the highest levels of achievement, enabling increased access to golf, higher participation levels, improved standards of performance, and sustained growth in the future.
“Stage 1 was for nine and 10-year-olds but nobody thought about where they go after the initial two-year period,” said Nige.
“So we now have transitional golf which is designed to help young golfers in obtain a 36 handicap before moving on to a development centre and North District selection.
“We are looking to introduce more P4 and 5s to the sport by making it less technical at the beginner stage and increasing permissible handicaps.”
A junior can now have a 56 handicap which makes achieving targets more realistic. Junior competitions are played over six holes and players’ families are encouraged to get more involved within coaching.
“Making golf fun is most important,” said Nige. “However, we’ve been allocated a furnished room at the club to encourage a family-friendly culture.
“Once it is finished, it will have a television, games station, DVD and CD players, toys for younger siblings, a table tennis table and easy access to the patio.
“The idea is, instead of parents dropping children that are being coached off and leaving, they can take their other children into the junior room and relax.”
Contact Nige at Forres Golf Club on 672949 (option five) or Active Schools coordinator Paul Rogan on 07966120518 for more information.