RYDER Cup-winning captain Colin Montgomerie is calling on fellow golf fans to offer up their old clubs and kit to help newcomers take up the game.
The 51-year-old has lent his support to a campaign pitched by Perth and Kinross Council, calling on golfers to pass on unwanted equipment to new players.
Monty, who lives in Perth, called the move an “imaginative project” that all golfers should support. Residents are being asked to drop unwanted gear and clubs at various recycling points across Perthshire.
However, the novel grassroots idea has also captured the imagination of other local authorities, with both Edinburgh and Glasgow city councils understood to be keen to follow suit.
Two-time Seniors Major winner Monty, who topped the European Tour Order of Merit a record eight times, said: “Any initiative designed to encourage more people, of all ages, to take up the great game of golf has to be encouraged. The Perthshire Golf Club Amnesty is an innovative idea and, as a local resident, I wish it every success.
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“I am sure most golfers have an old club or two tucked away at the back of the garage or in the attic that they no longer use. Rather than gathering dust, they can now be recycled and used by novices keen to sample the sport. I’m sure golfers will support this imaginative project.
“On the back of a hugely successful Ryder Cup at Gleneagles, I believe the golf club amnesty can provide a valuable stepping stone into the wonderful game of golf.”
Donated golf equipment will be free to hire by players at the Perth and Kinross Council-run North Inch Golf Course during the 2015-16 season. This is one of a number of new initiatives at the council’s municipal golf course, designed to capitalise on a rise in local interest in the game following the success of the 2014 Ryder Cup.
Golf has been a feature of the North Inch for almost 500 years, with King James IV said to have played on the parklands in the 1500s. North Inch is 70 years older than the home of golf, the Royal and Ancient golf club in St Andrews, making it one of the oldest courses in the world.
The current arrangement of holes was laid out by Old Tom Morris, who also designed Carnoustie, Muirfield and the St Andrews New courses.
Councillor Alan Grant, environment convener for Perth and Kinross, said: “The Ryder Cup and Junior Ryder Cup have inspired an interest in golf for many residents and visitors.
“While the cost of purchasing golf equipment can seem prohibitive for some people, and perhaps put them off trying the game, the golf club amnesty will make golf clubs available at no cost for players of the North Inch Golf Course.
“This means that golf will become more affordable and accessible for everyone in our area.”
Fans are being encouraged to pass on unwanted gents’, ladies’ or junior golf equipment, such as metal woods (drivers and fairways), hybrid clubs, sets of irons, wedges, putters and golf bags.
Edinburgh City Council environment convener, Councillor Lesley Hinds, voiced her support and said: “This is a great example of creative thinking.”
Donations can be made at Friarton and Inveralmond recycling centres in Perth, and also at Blairgowrie, Crieff, Kinross and Pitlochry recycling centres, where designated containers have been introduced for golf equipment.
The Perthshire Golf Club Amnesty will run until 16 March.