Following my recent appointment as Junior Convener at Royal Musselburgh, a job that holds great appeal to me after running Lochend GC Juniors for 10 years over 20 years ago. In that period I managed to preside over a group of youngsters that did the club and myself proud. A couple turned professional and are currently in Head Professional jobs at Lothians Clubs. Both also managed to win the Lothians Boys Championship within a few years of each other bringing much needed recognition to Lochend.
My immediate aim is to introduce a new age group (5-9 years old). Currently Juniors join at 10 years of age but I firmly believe that we need to introduce youngsters at a much early age to ingrain good habits and that is why this new age group is so important.
Why are we introducing this age group and what are our plans for them?
Since 1935 when the Scottish Boys Championship started running no boy from Royal Musselburgh has won the event or even appeared in the Final. I find that astonishing considering we are the 5th oldest golf club in the world.
Jane Connachan won the Scottish Girls, Scottish Women’s Championship before turning professional and Kenny Glen won the Scottish Assistants title so Royal Musselburgh can produce top class golfers and that is what we need to do again.
I don’t believe that Royal Musselburgh boys are inferior to boys anywhere else in Scotland nor do I believe a boy from Royal Musselburgh cannot win the title one day. What we do need to do is get our Boys into elite coaching at a much younger age (at both Lothians & SGU level) and that is why I am introducing a new membership age-group 5-9 years of age where the Annual membership fee will match the Junior’s age (5 year old’s pay £5 etc, etc) until they reach 10 years of age and the fee is reviewed (currently £50). The membership fee will be used to purchase prizes for the fun events we intend to run. The kids will not be allowed to take part in Junior medals unless they reach a certain standard. Instead they will be introduced to the game gradually and allowed to develop at their own pace through the CLUBGOLF scheme that is currently so successful in Scotland. This will be more of a FUN membership rather than a competitive one at this stage. Calum Smith, our new head professional, has agreed to assist in putting together a development programme involving coaching, rules of golf, quizzes, fun golf events e.g pitching & putting etc.
Long term aim
However, my long term aim is to help produce a Scottish Boy Champion from Royal Musselburgh GC and I feel this is an achievable goal with the right support and professional coaching. I realise reaching that standard does not happen overnight. The Lothians Golf Association invest a lot of financial resource into producing and developing the very best talent in the region and with that in mind I want our future youngsters to be part of that development. Boy Champions usually come from an elite squad of golfers that work their way through Regional and National coaching programmes under the auspices of The Scottish Golf Union. The rewards are great but these are only attained by hard work, dedication, belief and discipline.
I believe that exciting times lie ahead for Royal Musselburgh Golf Club and that is why I have asked Martin Dempster, Edinburgh Evening News, Bunkered magazine and the East Lothian Courier to print an article outlining the future vision for Royal Musselburgh Junior Section. The article is aimed at parents of youngsters (boys & girls) in the Lothians area and beyond to consider our Junior membership packages and contact me on 07824 601631.
Revised annual membership fee for 10-18 years of age
I have re-visited the annual membership fee for the age-group 10-18 and decided that what we were previously charging was excessive. A revised annual membership fee of £50 will be introduced with immediate effect.