Monday, 6 September 2010
Torvean Golf Club is set to introduce children to the game in greater numbers than before and strengthen community links after opening a new practice facility.
The new facility - a 3 hole course with six tees, a large practice green, two bunkers and a big driving range – was opened officially by Provost Councillor Jimmy Gray.
This will give children and adults another option in what is becoming known as the City of Inverness Sporting Mile, where sports, including American football, athletics golf, rock climbing, rugby and swimming, are available.
Three years ago Torvean began a junior coaching drive through the national junior golf programme, clubgolf. A partnership between the Scottish Golf Union, the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association, the Professional Golfers’ Association, the Golf Foundation and sportscotland, clubgolf was created as a lasting legacy to hosting the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Since then the club’s volunteer coaches have managed the weekly junior coaching by closing two holes on the main course. Committee and members were happy with this arrangement but it was never intended as a long term solution.
With junior coaching numbers growing each year, a dedicated area was needed and the club leased a large patch of rough farmer’s land and have been developing it since March.
“The kids are absolutely over the moon at having their own area,” said Graham Main, Junior Convenor and one of the club’s six qualified Level 1 coaches, who coach over 20 children on Sunday afternoons.
“Leaving the main course open and getting the kids over to the practice area has benefits for all parties. We’re not inconveniencing club members and the kids aren't feeling any sort of pressure to speed up and move on.”
Developing the new practice area was funded by two grants of £5000 from Awards for All and Inverness Common Good Fund. Following an energetic fund raising effort the club paid the balance of £8000, and provided labour in kind.
Given that the real work of building bunkers and greens only started in March, when a hard winter was by no means at an end, it was something of a miracle that the area was ready for practice as early as June.
“We would like to express our thanks to everybody who has supported this project from the outset,” said Club Captain, Hamish Spence.
“We've had subscriptions from a variety of different sources who we'd like to express our thanks to.
“All the work has been done by our own staff and volunteers. Our course manager, Steve McIntosh, is enormously talented; he has a great reputation and has done wonders for our course.
“This time last year the practice area was a rough piece of farm ground. He only laid the greens in mid April and they were being used in June so he did a tremendous job.”
Torvean has forged strong links with local schools, a number of which use the facility. Its most local school, Charleston Academy, comes to the club on a weekly basis. Other schools have been so impressed by the quality of coaching that they have asked the club’s volunteer coaches to teach their children.
“It is proving very popular with adult beginners,” said Mr Spence. “So much so that we have made an arrangement for adult beginners to join at a restricted membership fee, which will allow them unlimited access to the development area.
“They can take up the game and go across to the practice area until they feel they are ready to come on to the course properly and play for a handicap.”
Provost Jimmy Gray, Chairman of The Highland Council’s Inverness City Committee, said: “The Common Good Fund is pleased to have joined forces with Torvean Golf Club and Awards for All to fund this superb facility, which will provide an important practice area for both junior and adult members of Torvean Golf Club. My congratulations go to Torvean Golf Club for their initiative and the active involvement of local schools.”
Willie MacKay, clubgolf’s Highland regional manager said: “Both Charleston Academy and Inverness High School have golf imbedded in their schools activities. Culloden Academy has also made enquiries about using the new Torvean facility for their beginners group.
“The Active School Team have been promoting the new 3 hole course extensively to children at their schools. Each year the Inverness Active School Team introduce over 700 primary 5 pupils to golf at their schools so this facility is of great benefit for increasing those children who wish to take up golf as an activity.
“The facility has been developed for all Club members, adult members and juniors. Junior coaching takes place on a Sunday afternoon and parents are encouraged to take their children for practice and to play a few holes at different times in between coaching sessions.”
Membership to the new facility is available to adults who wish to take up golf and also non members at £50 / annum. Juniors only pay £25 / annum which at 50p per week is very affordable. Further details can be had from John Robertson, Club Administrator on 01463 225651.
+ clubgolf Media Release