Junior golfers from Falkirk and Bonnybridge savour superb chance to polish their game and play at Gleneagles
A thrilling new sporting chapter has begun for junior golfers across the Forth Valley.
Throughout this year, budding local young golfers have been taking part in a new initiative aimed at bringing local clubs together, providing them with the opportunity to broaden their horizons by playing a number of different courses, meeting new friends and creating a golfing community for the future.
Their new adventures culminated last weekend in a wonderful experience playing at the stunning Queen’s Course at the world-renowned Gleneagles Golf Resort.
Following a disrupted 2020 golfing calendar, where the area’s golfers of the future had little opportunity to compete in events outwith their immediate area, five local junior convenors came together to trial a new junior golf movement, co-ordinating fixtures and events between the clubs.
This new idea has been labelled Forth Valley Junior Golf (FVJG).
The aim was to promote the game in a fun and friendly environment, to enable every junior, regardless of experience or ability, to learn and enjoy the game, forging new friendships and providing them with experiences which will stay with them for years to come.
Throughout the year, junior golfers from across the region have been competing in the Race To Gleneagles. Over 150 competitors took part in the junior opens at the home golf clubs of the five founding convenors – Falkirk, Bonnybridge, Alloa, Braehead and Stirling.
Each junior’s three best scores across the competitions were compiled into a league table, with the top 10 competitors securing a place at the United Kingdom’s number one golf resort last Sunday.
The finalists were aged 10-17 with handicaps between six and 35 – highlighting the opportunities for local golfers of all ages and abilities, thanks to the value of inclusiveness that FVJG has at its core.
One of FVJG’s founding convenors said: “It has been an absolute privilege for us to see how much the junior golfers and their families have embraced this new venture.
"To have seen so many juniors attend these events across the central belt, seeing golf courses completely new to them, meeting other young golfers and forming friendships has been extremely rewarding.
"The showpiece event of the year at Gleneagles will live long in the memory of all involved.”
On the day, Falkirk Golf Club member Caleb Stanners triumphed in the glorious playground of Gleneagles, narrowly pipping Cameron Doyle of Braehead Golf Club to win the inaugural Rob Roy Trophy.
The convenor added: “All involved with FVJG would like to pay tribute to all those involved at Gleneagles Golf Resort for providing such a special and memorable experience for our players.
"The prospect of playing at such an iconic venue has really captured the imagination of our youngsters and has given them all the incentive to work on their games, knowing the reward that could await them.
"Some of these kids may never be lucky enough to play this course again, so we thank Alison Goodwin at Gleneagles for all of her support in making this day possible.
"We sincerely hope this is a relationship that can continue beyond this year, in an effort to inspire more of our kids to compete in our local open competitions and, in so doing, support their own clubs.”
Up next for the young golfers of the Forth Valley is the Final’s Day for the inter-club league on September 5, dubbed The Race to Bonnybridge.
Throughout the year, the clubs have played against each other in a series of match-play team games. This final event of the summer season will see the five clubs going head to head in team matches to decide the
winners of the Bruce and Wallace leagues.
The curtain will come down on the season with a prizegiving, which will also see each of the open winners presented with their well-deserved trophies.
Looking ahead, the FVJG organisers explained: “This year has been very much a trial. We weren’t sure if there would be an appetite for these fixtures, so we decided to start small, with just the five clubs taking part to see if this could work.
"From the wonderful feedback we have received from the players and their families, it is clear this has been a success and we will discuss together how we can build on the success of the first year.
"We want to stress that, although we have kept our first year on a smaller scale to enable us to learn what does and doesn’t work, we are not a ‘closed shop’ and would like to invite any other local club to get in touch if they are interested in becoming involved in these fixtures.
"Any interested club, or even any junior interested in finding out more and wanting to start out their golfing journey, can find out how to contact us by visiting our website at forthvalleyjuniorgolf.weebly.com.
“We will catch up with the FVJG team and all our talented stars of the future and look forward to announcing the Race to Bonnybridge champions in the coming weeks.”