Two-time Ladies European Tour winner Kylie Walker inspired young females after helping launch Scottish Golf’s season of #ThisGirlGolfs coaching events in Paisley over the weekend.
Walker joined Paisley GC club professional Clare-Marie Macaulay and her group of girls on Saturday for the first of 10 sessions which are being held around the country this month.
Building on the momentum created by the #ThisGirlGolfs campaign, clubs and PGA professionals are hosting a series of four-hour group coaching sessions, combining learning the game with the social aspects of golf, with the events open to girls aged between nine and 16.
Walker joined in Saturday’s session, filmed by the Sky Sports Scotland cameras, and had as much fun and laughter as the 11 girls who took part. “It has been fantastic to have a day like this for the girls together and have a bit of fun, learn something, take something away and make some friends,” she said.
“Most of the girls didn’t know each other, so it was really good as they all got to meet, work together as a team and compete against each other as well. It’s great for girls’ golf and for character building too as a lot of girls are shy.
“I was a really shy 14-year-old and it wasn’t easy for me to start with, but luckily I loved the game enough to get over that fear. By my second and third medal, I then played with the boys and I was a lot more relaxed and enjoyed it more. Girls are more timid than boys, and even just to bring out that bit of confidence in them to keep playing golf is great because they enjoy it.”
Clare-Marie, who coaches juniors through Paisley’s ClubGolf programme, agrees there is a need for additional girls-only group coaching. She added: “We definitely need these sessions because there are not enough girls in individual golf clubs.
“At the start on Saturday, when they introduced themselves, the girls were obviously really shy. By the end of it, it was brilliant as they just kept talking, you couldn’t keep them quiet which is the way you want it, laughing and joking and having a good time. It thought it was brilliant. I do a lot of junior coaching but the majority are boys, and being a girl myself, I want more girls coming through.”
Kylie added: “To start with, the girls were whispering their name and being really quiet and no one had any questions for me. But, by the end, they were all jumping in for photos and selfies and asking lots of questions. I got a lot out of it, and I hope they did too.”
Twelve-year-old Paisley member Beth Rogan enjoyed welcoming everyone to her club and said: “We got to meet Kylie, take pictures, get some coaching, and we did a challenge with Clare-Marie’s team against Kylie’s team. It was great, good fun and we got to meet a lot of other girls and play out on the course. I think I’ll see a few of them at other competitions and days like this again.”
Given the Paisley event was so popular, a further date has been added to the summer coaching schedule which sees nine other clubs, from Portpatrick Dunskey in the south west to Royal Dornoch in the north east, host groups of a maximum of 12 girls this month.
One of those, Glenbervie, will welcome Pamela Pretswell, Scotland’s leading player on the Ladies European Tour last season, to their #ThisGirlGolfs coaching event this Sunday. The Scot recently qualified for the US Women’s Open Championship which takes place in California next month.
Each four-hour event also includes a meal, so the girls can socialise further, and the PGA professional will organise more coaching get-togethers for their group during the school holidays. Golfers should have a minimum of one year’s playing experience, with or without a handicap, with the first session priced at £7.50 each.
To find out more, visit https://www.scottishgolf.org/players/new-to-golf/thisgirlgolfs/
Photo credit: Craig Watson