KirkwoodGolf: Perthshire golf owes huge debt to the Butcharts for promotion and encouragement of Juniors

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Perthshire golf owes huge debt to the Butcharts for promotion and encouragement of Juniors

Who played for GB and Ireland boys team
against Continent of Europe many moons ago
The efforts of Iain Butchart and his wife Dawn in all that they have done to promote and encourage junior golf in Perthshire from Iain’s position as Junior Convener at Strathmore Golf Club for the past 10 years or so stems from the well documented membership decline of most golf clubs in Scotland.

To a large extent, the drop in numbers can be attributed to the lack of youngsters taking up the game which, in turn, has caused the average age of some club memberships to have risen considerably, in some cases to the late 60s which is clearly unsustainable if club golf is going to survive as we have always known it.
We are all aware of the competing interests of youngsters these days and that to many  golf can be seen as too time- consuming and even still a bit elitist which is a barrier to getting new blood into the game if it is going to prosper at it has done in all my near 60 years' involvement in golf.  
While the R and A and other like organisations can do their best to stimulate interest, at the end of the day it is with the efforts at ground level of individual clubs through their junior sections that effective action can be taken to promote the game we all love.    
This is where I feel the likes of Iain Butchart deserve wider recognition of all that he and his wife Dawn have achieved at Strathmore, particularly with it being a relatively new club (the course there was only opened in 1996) and without being unfair, could be described as an unfashionable club compared with the many more established and wealthier clubs elsewhere.
The hire of golf clubs scheme was Iain’s brainchild as a first-class practical measure to introduce youngsters to the game .
The dedicated and enthusiastic work carried out by Iain and Dawn, with the help of others, over the last decade, has arrested the decline of interest in the game by youngsters
Thanks to Butcharts' efforts, top quality talent has already been produced in the likes of Alex Simpson, Kirsty Brodie, Megan Ashley and others.
There have been a number of talented young golfers produced by Strathmore GC in recent years who have gone on to receive national recognition and according to their long standing Junior Convenor, Iain Butchart, the reason is a simple one.
Strathmore has and continues to be very supportive of junior golf as they see it as their future and even pay for an external PGA professional in Gareth Couzens to give free lessons to their juniors.
They also have a certificate system set up on their nine-hole course and fun handicaps before Iain decides when they are ready for the 18 hole course and a CONGU handicap.
This has already produced two assistant professionals in Rory Tinker (Piperdam) and Hannah Robb (Elie), and Emily Aird and Michael Brodie are on college golf scholarships in America.   Megan Aird is looking to work in golf hospitality and Tod Bannerman has started a greenkeepers' course at Gleneagles, having first attended Elmwood College in Fife.
Currently, Strathmore have Kirsty Brodie, Amy Mitchell and Alex Simpson all in the Scottish Academy programme – the only club in Scotland to have three.
Butchart reckons that this success will continue and Strathmore will keep on producing good young players because of the structured set-up he has put in place.   He sees his role as convener is to give all juniors the opportunity to reach their potential and encourages them with much help as possible to achieve their goals.
Iain is expecting big things from the likes of Alex, Kirsty, Amy and also Megan Ashley. Strathmore continues to buck the trend in attracting new members this year, six of whom are girls, bringing their total number of girls to 15.

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