After a training programme run by the Scottish Ladies’ Golfing Association, Marr College golfers Hazel MacGarvie and Emma Hale will be teaming up to play for Scotland at next month’s SLGA Under-16 Open at Strathmore.
Both Troon girls are in the SLGA’s Foundation squad and another 16 youngsters joined them at last Saturday’s final winter session at Kingsfield Golf Centre, Linlithgow.
It was run by national coach Kevin Craggs and Scottish Golf’s performance development manager, Kevin Cademy-Taylor.
Catching them young and guiding them to the top is the scheme’s philosophy – the youngest member of the group is 12-year-old Kirsty Brodie (Webster’s High School).
“We have had six national sessions over the winter and they have also had 100 academy hours,” explained Craggs, who coaches Scottish No 1, Catriona Matthew.
“It is a performance programme – very intense and not for everyone. It is not just golf development. We push the girls and demand a high level of commitment.”
Hazel, who is 13 and plays off a handicap of five, is one of Scotland’s most promising youngsters. She took up golf when she was just three years old – “seriously when I was four” – and she plays at least three times a week, even in the winter. Emma will be 16 this month and she also started golf before she went to primary school.
Isabel Crawford is the SLGA’s performance director and she is confident the new emphasis on youth will pay dividends.
“The two Kevins work very well with the girls,” she said. “Everything is very well organised and there is a stronger work ethic than in the past.”
As an extra motivation, the girls had a chance to be photographed alongside the Curtis Cup – won in style by GB and Ireland at Nairn last summer when Scot Pamela Prestwell was in the line-up.
The hope is that, in a few years’ time, some of the Foundation squad will get the chance to play for the Cup against the USA. There are two teams for the Under-16 Open – Hazel and Emma are joined by German-based Fiona Liddell in Team 1 and Emily Dalgetty, Chloe Goadby and Claire Robertson are in Team 2.
SLGA Foundation squad at Kingsfield:
Shannon McWilliam (Aboyne Academy)
Kirsty Brodie (Webster’s HS)
Emma Hale (Marr College)
Emily Dalgetty (St David’s HS)
Hazel MacGarvie (Marr College)
Eilidh Crawford (Calderhead HS)
Lori Macdonald (Hermitage Academy)
Kirsten Brown (St Andrews and St Bride’s HS)
Katie Scott (Strathaven Academy)
Joanne Free (Ross HS)
Jillian Farrell (Dumbarton Academy)
Claire Robertson (Carnoustie HS)
Charotte Munro (North Berwick HS)
Emma Greenlees (Wallace Hall Academy)
Andrea Walker (Braes HS)
Mirren Fraser (Dumfries HS)
Jasmine McIntosh (Hazlehead Academy)
Lauren Watson (Robert Gordon’s College)