ClubGolf, Scotland’s junior national development programme, welcomes former Scottish international and Ladies European Tour competitor, Lesley Nicholson, as its new East Regional Manager.
An Active Schools Coordinator since she stopped playing full time in 2004, Nicholson brings extensive sports development skills and firsthand experience of ClubGolf’s schools programme.
“In my Active Schools role I've seen a huge number of children coming through ClubGolf in primary schools, getting the opportunities that before were never there in school,” said the Musselburgh based ex Curtis Cup player.
ClubGolf’s remit goes far beyond introducing every Primary 5 child to golf. Nicholson, Captain of the Scottish team that won the Women’s Home Internationals for the first time in 19 years in 2010, has seen ClubGolf hit its target of building a large pool of well coached youngsters from which more talented players will emerge.
“Clara Young (North Berwick) is a classic case of someone from a golfing family coming all the way through the ClubGolf pathway from P5 spurred on to what she's doing today, which is representing GB& I and Scotland. I'm sure she'll go on to bigger things,” she continued.
“And ClubGolf is making an impact right across the board. I have seen plenty of children from non golfing families who would never have had the opportunity before, that are getting involved in golf at clubs as a result of the schools game. That's a massive positive for golf in Scotland, being able to reach thousands of kids each year that don't come from golfing families.”
ClubGolf has an extensive programme in the East of Scotland, the region managed previously by Laura Rushby. Over 50 clubs in the Lothians and Scottish Borders now offer structured coaching through ClubGolf. This term more than 80 percent of the region’s Primary 5 population, some 6000 children, will receive ClubGolf coaching.
Earlier this year the East region took a clean sweep of RBS Awards, Turnhouse Golf Club’s Iain Holt the winning volunteer and nearby Dundas Parks Golf Club the best junior club.
“The partnerships that Laura has worked really hard to make have made a massive improvement in increasing the numbers and the awareness,” said Nicholson.
“From personal experiences of ClubGolf in the East on the girls side, we have a really strong core group of girls who are really committed and consistently coming along to coaching and medals. Some of them already are playing county level.
“Looking at the results through we have a really good crop of youngsters, both boys and girls, which we will improve on and help get them to fulfil their potential.
Ironically, Nicholson has until now never worked in golf full time. Having now finished her roles as Scottish Team Captain and East Lothian Ladies County Golf Association Junior Convenor she is relishing the opportunity to devote all her energy to ClubGolf.
“Golf has been my passion for my whole life, and after finishing the East Lothian and Scottish duties I can commit to ClubGolf. It’s very exciting to be involved with my chosen sport and hopefully I can make an impression.
“I will work hard with the clubs that are already on board as well as trying to get more clubs to commit to being involved with the program as well, more PGA professionals on board and help more children make the transition from schools to the clubs.”
Welcoming Nicholson, ClubGolf Manager Jackie Davidson said: “We are delighted to have someone with Lesley’s knowledge and expertise in golf joining the ClubGolf team.
“Her work experience with Active schools and already established enthusiasm for the programme will stand Lesley in good stead. I have complete confidence in her ability to build on ClubGolf’s progress in the East of Scotland.”