Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Jamie Frail, Active Schools Co-ordinator for the Irvine Royal cluster and Jo Rand, Active Schools Co-ordinator for additional support needs schools, with pupils and staff from Annick Primary and Stanecastle Schools playing firstclubgolf and helping plant trees on the schools’ course Image by Rob Eyton-Jones. Click on it to enlarge.

Junior golf drive on course in Irvine area

The drive to give every Primary 5 child in Scotland the opportunity to play golf is proving successful in the Irvine area. After Easter all five primary schools in the Irvine Royal Academy cluster will introduce their children to the game through the national junior programme, clubgolf.
This will be the first time that all five have been involved. Around 50 children will receive taster sessions through the programme’s introductory game, firstclubgolf, which employs modified equipment, is taught by school staff and supported by Active Schools Co-ordinators.
“Last year two schools were involved but this spring every single school will be doing extra curricular firstclubgolf, either at lunchtime or after school,” said Jamie Frail, Active Schools Co-ordinator for the Irvine Royal cluster.
“Each of the five schools is expected to have 10 children in their P5 age group participating in their extracurricular golf programme - so there is potential for 50 children to be regularly playing golf this year.”
A lasting legacy to Scotland’s successful bid to host the 2014 Ryder Cup, clubgolf is a partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies' Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers' Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland.
Active Schools is an integral part of clubgolf’s schools programme, in helping train teachers and supporting the programmes in schools as well as recruiting more volunteers to deliver.
The Irvine Royal Academy cluster children have the advantage of being able to use a six-hole golf course on their doorstep between Annick Primary and Stanecastle School.
“The golf course was completed last year and as far as I know Annick is one of only two schools in Scotland which has its own course,” said Jamie.
Last week children from the school and neighbouring Stanecaslte (an Additional Support Needs school) were busy helping plant trees and daffodils on the course.
“Having a golf course on the school grounds is a big help and as a resource it’s perfect for developing golf. Because it’s on Annick’s doorstep the school use it for teaching golf to all of their year groups with credit going to the head teacher who has been a major driving force.
“The five schools will do their own firstclubgolf coaching then one night a week Annick is open for children from the cluster and surrounding community to come and use it. All we need is for volunteers to open the course and supervise the sessions.
"So far we have senior pupils from Irvine Royal Academy, those who have an interest in golf, lined up for this role. I will be organising further training so that more volunteers from the community will be able to deliver firstclubgolf and enjoy the course.”
In 2009 over 753 North Ayrshire Primary 5 children (just over half of the year roll) were introduced to golf through firstclubgolf. This year the target is to roll out the game to 75% of the children in the area.
“Children really enjoy the game,” said Jamie. “Golf is a good leveller and a game that every child, both boys and girls, can play. They like the freedom of being able to get outside and hit a ball, and getting outdoors has massive health benefits. Active Schools introduces golf in the schools and develops the volunteers who will then deliver the game.
“The next step is to encourage the ones that are interested in developing their golf so we can get them into a clubgolf programme at a local club.”
Rob Eyton-Jones
clubgolf Media Manager