Thursday, December 29, 2016


Deeside GC managing to buck the trend with vibrant junior membership of boys AND girls

John Allan, Nigg Bay Golf Club's new match secretary, emailed a few days ago, asking for help and suggestions from any individual or body with regard to the drastic falling off of junior membership at the Balnagask club, Aberdeen.
It has only two junior members.

Elaine Farquharson-Black
We asked GB and I Curtis Cup-winning team captain Elaine Farquharson-Black, an Aberdeen solicitor who is Deeside Golf Club's junior convener, how the Bieldside club is managing to buck the North-east downward trend with a vibrant junior membership of boys AND girls:

"We try to make it fun for all the boys and girls as Deeside recognises juniors' importance." says Elaine

Club golf is meant to encourage players who are not members of a club. Hazlehead runs Clubgolf, but I am not sure about other clubs.

Murcar Links  is providing free junior membership as is Peterculter. A municipal club can't do that as the Town Council charge for playing the course, so the Council would need to reduce prices for juniors, but I can't see that happening as there would be other sports arguing for free use of facilities.

Peterhead have withdrawn from the Junior |Pennant Leaguethis year as they can't field a team, so it is a wider problem.

Karyn Dallas, club professional at Kirriemuir GC,  runs two-hole events for juniors to try it out. That might be an idea worth exploring.

In terms of Deeside, the club is very welcoming of juniors, both at member level and by the staff. As junior convener, I sit on Council representing the junior members so they are considered in all decision-making, recognising that the juniors will sustain the club going forward.

We run junior competitions on Saturday afternoons. Those with handicaps of 18 or below play on the Haughton course off the same tees as the men/women for that day's competition and their scores are included in the CSS for the day, again reinforcing that they are part of the wider membership.

On the Deeside GC Blairs course, the juniors can play nine or 18 holes, depending on their ability and stamina!

I am generally there on a Saturday to see the juniors off and when they come in for something to eat at the end of their round.

In the holidays, there are also junior competitions on Mondays and Thursdays and over the winter we run an eclectic and have a team playing in the men's winter foursomes competition.

We run coaching sessions for the juniors once a month, different classes for different abilities.  Deeside GC Director of Golf, Frank Coutts, and his assistant, Graeme Nethercott,  are very supportive of the juniors.

We run a Facebook and Twitter account for the juniors, posting pictures of what they have been up to, at Deeside and at other events.

We try to make it fun; encouraging juniors of all abilities to enjoy the facilities. Not sure that we have all the answers!


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