Despite the challenges and impact that Coronavirus had on golf this year, golf development at Carnoustie Golf Links continued to grow from strength to strength in 2020.
Carnoustie (the host of next year’s AIG Women’s Open) boasts one of the UK’s largest golf development programmes with hundreds of children participating each week, including over 60 girls, underlining the continued interest in the Women’s Game.
A review of this Summer’s Carnoustie Craws Junior Golf Academy highlighted that 232 children participated weekly in Carnoustie Golf Links’ golf coaching groups with golfers ranging from age 5-16 years old. The consistent weekly coaching, led by the PGA Professionals in The Golf Development Team and supported by PVG approved volunteers, allowed the young ‘Craws’ to improve the various skills involved in golf such as putting, chipping, pitching, iron play and driving. Combined with being active and outdoors, these sessions were great for the children to get together with their peers and gain more experience in the game.
Using the My Pathway to Golf platform, aspiring young golfers can track their progress and keep in touch with coaches. Each week, the Craws were also encouraged to play golf during the ‘playing sessions’ and to utilise Carnoustie’s amazing developmental course – The Nestie, and The Burnside Course. Progression through the 5-Level, ‘On Course Playing Pathway’, is the goal for every young golfer and will allow each golfer to reach their potential at their own pace.
Melody McMahon front, wating behind (L-R) Erin Robinson and Louise Melville, Summer Coaching Sessions
Advanced Golfers Group
Through the success and progression of The Carnoustie Craws, the Advanced Golfers group has grown massively in 2020 with 29 players now attending weekly coaching sessions and playing regularly in club competitions. With an age range of 11-18 years old, and handicaps from 33 to 2, this group is a brilliant mix of golfers who will go on to become Carnoustie adult Club golfers of the future.
Weekly group coaching sessions allowed this group of players to come together and further establish their relationships, while challenging and enhancing their skills through specific performance training games and drills.
Playing competitively is also a huge part of development at this stage and through weekly club competitions, a Summer Holidays Order of Merit and Matchplay competitions, the Advanced Craws golfers were able to gain valuable experience and improve throughout the season.
Jamie Turnbull proudly shows off the strike mark of the ball on the middle of his driver as Kirsty Norrie takes aim in the background, Carnoustie Craws, October Holiday Camp
During the October break Angus County Golf Association hosted their annual Team and Individual championships.
Carnoustie Golf Links Head Professional Keir McNicoll, responsible for managing the programme, said “With the Advanced group of Carnoustie Craws growing this year, it was important to see this group of players pushing themselves at a higher level, with 15 players in the starting field for the individual stroke play championship at Downfield Golf Club”. After some mixed fortunes in the qualifying round, 7 Carnoustie Craws made it to the Match Play stages of the event with Rory Bain finishing runner-up in the Scratch Championship and Harry Robertson winning the Handicap Championship.
In the Team Championship at Monifieth Golf Links, Carnoustie players were again showing their promise as the 3 teams entered in the event produced some fantastic scores. The Carnoustie Club team (Harry Robertson, Finlay Elrick, Kyan Low and Andrew Strathdee) came so close to winning the event, finishing 3 shots behind a strong Downfield Golf Club team in the scratch event but were ultimately rewarded for their performance as they triumphed in the handicap event.
After a fantastic, Covid-19-shortened, 11 week summer schedule, The Carnoustie Craws season is now ending and culminated with a series of October Holiday Camps for our ‘My Pathway 2 Golf’ Groups and a Carnoustie Craws Ryder Cup for our Advanced Golfers Group – allowing all our young golfers to finish off the season on a high.
Speaking on the matter, Carnoustie Golf Links Chief Executive, Michael Wells, was “delighted” with the progression of the Carnoustie Craws under the circumstances that everyone has faced this year and is keen to build on the success of the programme in 2021. He commented, “Golf was one of the activities that children could get back into quickly after the Lockdown measures were eased and as an organisation, we felt it was really important to provide an opportunity for children to get out and get involved after a difficult few months in the early part of the year.” Local Councillor and Carnoustie golf Links Trustee, David Cheape, added – “golf is such a great sport to learn as a young person as it provides so many great experiences and opportunities, while also allowing you to spend time with your friends. Having been starved of this for a few months, it was very inspiring to see so many children getting back to what they do best – playing and learning.”
The Carnoustie Craws Junior Golf Academy is a developmental golf programme dedicated to young people. The programme is provided at no cost to Carnoustie-based children who are interested in the game and more information can be found via our website – www.carnoustiegolflinks.com/junior. The programme will resume in Spring 2021.