Grant for Rosehearty Golf Club

Bunkers for all: Rosehearty Golf Club Captain Sandra Ross with girls from her clubgolf programme, Leah Smart (left) and Shannon Murray (right), by Sandra Ross
Bunkers for all: Rosehearty Golf Club Captain Sandra Ross with girls from her clubgolf programme, Leah Smart (left) and Shannon Murray (right), by Sandra Ross

Rosehearty Golf Club, which has worked hard for the last six years to build its junior section from virtually nothing to a vibrant 50 golfers, has been rewarded with a £10,000 facilities grant from Awards for All.

The Aberdeenshire club, a 9-hole links course four miles from Fraserburgh, first joined forces with the national junior golf programme clubgolf in 2006 after enterprising members Sandra Ross and Pearl Bartlett attended a presentation by clubgolf’s Grampian regional manager Audra Booth.

A shortage of funds to pay for both ladies to attend the two-day coaching course with the PGA proved no barrier.

They organised a day-long 59-hole golfathon raising £600 and soon became qualified clubgolf Level One coaches.

“After that I wrote to the local school to let them know we would be starting junior coaching and we filled 12 places within a couple of weeks,” recalls Sandra Ross, now club captain.

Five years on, Rosehearty’s clubgolf coaching is booming with 50 junior members.

Many of them have a handicap, and one of them, 22 handicapper Shannon Murray, who attended the club’s first coaching session in 2006, has qualified for October’s Grand Final of the Highland Spring Junior Masters at Gleneagles. Fellow junior, Leah Smart has cut her handicap four times in recent weeks to 30.5 and is first reserve for the event.

The club is justly proud of its achievements. During the 200 hours of coaching it has given since 2006, it has found a way to complete the clubgolf syllabus and its bunker module, despite having to fill in its sole bunker in 2009 following its deterioration.

“Not having a bunker meant we couldn’t fully complete the clubgolf syllabus,” said Sandra.

“So we have been taking the kids across to the beach to let them hit balls in the sand! It’s not the same as using a bunker but it did give a feel for it.”

Now, all is about to change. At the club’s AGM the committee produced a plan to keep Rosehearty thriving, the first step being to apply for an Awards for All grant to build bunkers.

With the assistance of Audra Booth, the club worked with sportscotland to ensure that all of the required outcomes of the programme were being met prior to the awarding of the maximum £10,000 level of grant.

Combined with a further £5,000 self generated through a fundraising campaign, it will enable the club to build three bunkers on its signature ‘Airman’s Leap’ hole.

“We are delighted to get a £10,000 grant which will benefit our juniors and adult players alike,” said Sandra.

“The building work is booked with local golf course designer Graham Webster for September 19 then after that there will be a healing period through the winter and they should be ready to use in the spring. “

Like the other 300 plus clubs across Scotland that offer clubgolf coaching, Rosehearty is attracting more children from non golfing families.

It has a strong link with its local primary school which offers clubgolf’s introductory game through sportscotland’s Active Schools network.

“Seventy five percent of the 50 kids are from golfing families and have had some sort of experience of it,” said Sandra.

“We keep golf very affordable here, just £60 a year for a junior membership. For members our coaching is £25 for the ten weeks, and £35 for non members.”

Alan Downie Club Secretary said: “Sandra and her team of coaches are a credit to the club and to clubgolf, in running with the programme and making a great success of it.”