Girls are given their Turn in bid to find golfing stars of the future

TURNHOUSE has become the first golf club in the Capital to offer girls only coaching as part of the clubgolf junior initiative.

Doubling the number of girls playing golf in Scotland is a clear goal of clubgolf and Turnhouse, which was the first private club in Edinburgh to sign up for the programme in 2005, is leading the way again.

"We are desperate to get girls playing golf and, hopefully, if we can get a good group of girls involved in the girls-only sessions we can get a girls' section started," said Iain Holt, the club's Junior Convenor who, with his team of 13 PGA Level 1 volunteer coaches, and PGA Pro John Murray, is teaching 70 children a week on the clubgolf programme from stage 1 through to stage 3.

"There are nine girls involved from four schools, Corstorphine, Gylemuir, East Craigs and Fox Covert and they seem to be enjoying themselves. If they find it's more fun to learn the game with other girls then I'm sure they'll be more committed and stay involved for longer."

Asked whether they had enjoyed their first session at Turnhouse, the nine girls responded with a unanimous 'yes'.

"It was really good because there were no boys interfering and mucking about," said nine-year-old Claire Cowan from Fox Covert Primary School. "And we were all given pink tee shirts which was really cool."

Lucy McCann, a ten-year-old from East Craigs, added: "It was more fun because if you don't do a good shot the boys kind of tease you. We really enjoyed it and we're going to keep coming back right through the summer."

Lesson one of the new course covered the basics of putting and, throughout the summer, the girls will learn all the fundamentals of the game.

If it's a success, and judging by the initial response, there's little doubt it will be, then the plan is to expand the girls only coaching in the future.

"The coaching involves 13 one-hour lessons over the summer and we will invite the girls back next year for 16 lessons, which will complete their Level 1 course," added Holt. "The club is fully behind the girls only coaching and if it works we will make it bigger next year. I can tell it's going to be a good class."

&#149 LOTHIANBURN Golf Club are hoping to attract around 30 new members on the back of another successful Open Day.

"Nearly 100 people turned up and it went very well," said the club's professional, Kurt Mungall. "Last year, it rained all day but, on this occasion, it was glorious and that definitely helped.

"We are hoping for a good uptake on membership, I've already been given 20 names by our club secretary to add to the list and hopefully there will be a spin off from the day as well.

"People were commenting on the fact the course was in great condition and there's a good chance they'll go away and tell some pals who might be interested in joining, too."

&#149 PUMPHERSTON'S Paul Drake is defending the Cameron Bowl at Uphall this Sunday, the first of the 36-hole club opens in the D M Hall Lothians Order of Merit. As always, the event has attracted a good field, with Drake's challengers coming from as far a field as St Andrews. Uphall stars Colin Swanston and Joe McManus, second and third respectively 12 months ago, will again spearhead a strong host club challenge.

&#149 CRAIGIELAW'S Jane Turner has been named in a four-strong squad to represent Scotland in the Irish Women's Championship, to be held at Elm Park, Dublin, at the end of next month.

Meanwhile, Carly Booth, Krystle Caithness and Michele Thomson, three of the four Scots in the Curtis Cup side at St Andrews next week, will fly the flag for the host nation on the team front in the British Women's Championship at North Berwick on June 11-15.