In Perthshire, we’re spoiled for choice when it comes to fantastic golf courses to play on. From the scenic views at Pitlochry Golf Club to the iconic Gleneagles which hosted the 2014 Ryder Cup – our region is a haven for golfers!
We’ve also produced a number of professional golfers over the years – including Bradley Neil, from Blairgowrie, who just this weekend recorded his best finish as a pro on the Challenge Tour when he was tied second in the Prague Golf Challenge. The win moves him closer to a top 15 finish in the ‘Road to Oman’ – which would see him earn his European Tour card.
In order to uncover the next Bradley though, we need to get youngsters playing the game. I was lucky enough to have a golf-daft grandad who used to take my brother, my cousins and I to the driving range or to Fulford Golf Course in Crieff, from a very young age. For some, the cost can be a stumbling block which stops them from getting involved in golf – but the team at Kinross Golf Courses have come up with a new offer which means that money is now no object for youngsters to play golf.
That’s because under 18s can now play at Kinross for free! That’s not just one free round either – under 18s can join the club free of charge too which means golf won’t cost them a thing! The only catch is they need to be accompanied by a paying adult.
Kinross boasts two beautiful parkland golf courses – the ‘Montgomery’ and the ‘Bruce’ – both of which provide a challenge to novice and experienced golfers alike. The Montgomery is the older of the two and often considered to be the more difficult, with a daunting 18th hole responsible for ruining many a player’s round!
Jane Wilson, Non-Residential Golf Coordinator at Kinross Golf Courses, believes that the initiative is going to be a fantastic opportunity for kids to get into the game and to learn important skills that will help them in other aspects of their lives. Golf equips kids with invaluable life-skills because it’s a game which is centred on etiquette and values, as well as teaching them patience and discipline.
“We like to promote health and wellbeing and we truly believe that introducing young people to golf is a great way to do this. Golf equips kids with invaluable life-skills because it’s a game which is centred on etiquette and values, as well as teaching them patience and discipline.
“It challenges kids to strive for continuous improvement and teaches them networking skills when they have to play against people they’ve never met before.”
It’s also a great opportunity to bond with the kids over the summer holidays. Just like when my grandad took me out as a kid, parents and grandparents can enjoy some quality time with the youngsters and encourage them to play golf into their adulthood. This is something Jane hopes will see an increase in people taking up the free golf offer.
“Our aim is to make golf as accessible as possible to young people which is why we think our ‘Under 18s for Free’ offer is a brilliant way to encourage them to take up the game. It’s also a great way for adults to spend one-on-one time with their kids and receive some feedback and encouragement from them. This can only help to strengthen and build relationships.”
This fantastic opportunity is not the only offer currently on at Kinross Golf Courses. For the entire month of July, normal visitor green fees have been reduced by 20% in the hope of encouraging more people to play both courses. All year round, the course offers a 50% discount for charities and those in the armed forces, as well as 20% reductions for groups of 8 or more golfers, which is perfect for larger society golf outings and competitions.
So, with Bradley Neil and many other local golfers to look to for inspiration, this summer take the youngsters along with you for a round at Kinross – it’s a fantastic opportunity to get them into the sport and who knows what they could achieve!
Niall McGill has been a professional golfer for over 25 years, and has established a reputation for being the region's go-to man to improve your game.
Perth Strathtay Harriers has been providing the kids and adults of Perthshire with fantastic opportunities to get involved in athletics since the 1940s and currently train at the George Duncan Athletics Arena weekly.
November 12th Sunday 2017
If you're looking for a low-impact exercise which can help you lose weight and improve your cardiovascular fitness then perhaps cycling would be perfect for you. Find out about the benefits and maybe you could make it your New Year's resolution in 2018 to start getting fit by peddling round picture-perfect Perthshire.
November 7th Tuesday 2017
Blairgowrie golfer Bradley Neil secured his European Tour card after a tense finish at Al Mouj Golf in Muscat, Oman. The 21-year-old clinched the final qualification spot on the Challenge Tour with a three feet putt on the 18th hole, meaning next year he'll compete among the best golfers in world such as Justin Rose, Sergio Garcia and Rory McIlory.
November 5th Sunday 2017