Girl power on the rise at Scottish club on back of Solheim Cup
Girls outnumber boys for first time for coaching session at Peebles
Girl power has reached new levels at a Scottish golf club on the back of Catriona Matthew leading Europe to victory in last year's Solheim Cup at Gleneagles.
Twelve months on from that memorable event, a junior coaching programme at Peebles has seen girls outnumber boys for the first time at one of the club's sessions.
Thirteen girls turned out for the Primary 5 to S1s coaching session at the pro-active Borders club, beating the number of boys by one.
A further six girls were involved in the day’s earlier Primary 1-4 coaching group, with the club attracting more than 40 youngsters since coaching has been allowed to resume post-lockdown.
Girl power was also evident in the club’s most recent junior competition, with sixth year pupil Ellie Martin beating the boys to clinch her first title of the season, reducing her handicap to 18 in the process.
“We are delighted to see so many girls taking part in our junior coaching on a regular basis, with many now coming along for a number of years," said the club's junior convenor, David Thorburn.
"Our aim is to make the coaching fun and inclusive, and the girls seem to enjoy the activities we put on, while playing as groups of friends.
"The proportion of female golfers in Scotland is very low at just 13 per cent, so hopefully Peebles can help give those numbers a boost and keep our girls playing for years to come."
News of the girls golf success at Peebles went nationwide when BBC Breakfast presenter Naga Munchetty, herself a keen single-figure handicap golfer, retweeted the club’s tweet to her 225,000 followers.
Meanwhile, well-known golf social media influencer and broadcaster ‘The Jazzy Golfer’ mentioned the achievement on her Instagram channel, vowing to pay a visit to the club to meet the girls.
“We’ve had a few talented female golfers at the club most notably Ailsa Bain – now a PGA professional at Gullane - winning the Scottish Girls Championship in 2009 and it would be good to think we have a few more coming through the ranks, with some impressive swings on show at coaching," added Thorburn.
"It’s great to see Ellie winning the junior medal and hopefully she can inspire some of the younger girls to progress into playing competitive golf.
“A few of our junior members attended the Solheim Cup at Gleneagles last September and were there to witness Suzanne Petterson’s winning putt and that’s definitely had a positive impact on the girls’ perception of golf.”
Overall, junior membership at the club has been in excess of one hundred for the past few years and Peebles was named Scotland’s Junior Club of the Year at the 2015 Scottish Golf Awards, a reward for it’s efforts in developing grass roots golf in the local community.
The club has recruited 80 new members across all categories this year, and encouragingly the average age of a new adult member is just 32 years old.
Peebles' profile has also been boosted by the recent performances on the European Tour from Craig Howie, the 26-year old who came through the ranks as a junior.
He tied for fourth in the recent ISPS Handa UK Championship at The Belfry, and followed that result up with a top-25 finish at the Andalucia Masters, propelling him inside the top-120 of the Race to Dubai rankings.
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