Golf: Here come the girls - and they want to play

MORE girl golfers are taking up the sport in and around Edinburgh than any other part of Scotland.

The Midlothian County Ladies' Golf Association now has 73 members aged 18 and under. "This is the largest number amongst the 15 Scottish counties," said Tracy Laughland, who has just stepped down after two years as its captain.

"Of those 73, 42 of the girls are members of a club, with 22 having gained a CONGU handicap (Council of National Golf Unions]."

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Mid have lifted the Cuthbertson Cup, beating East Lothian, Fife and Stirling & Clackmannan, five years in a row. And, in players like Jane Turner, Rachael Watton and Gabrielle MacDonald, they have also produced some of Scotland's most exciting young talent.

"A lot of thanks for those membership numbers have to go to the coaching programme which the county has in place and to Ian Young and his fellow professionals at the Braids Driving Range who offer a lot of time and patience with their coaching," added Laughland.

"Currently 45 girls enjoy one-hour coaching sessions at the Braids on the first Sunday of every month. It is fantastic to see the girls, who range in age from 6 to 18 years, all enthusiastically swinging a club, striking the ball and learning the fundamentals of the game."

As Laughland hands over the reins to Mary Richardson, a Craigmillar Park member, the overall picture for women's golf in the Capital is looking healthy.

"In the current age of golf where clubs are struggling for members and several counties are seeing their membership numbers declining, MCLGA is very healthy, having 449 members (made up of nine honorary members, 18 associate members, six student members and 416 ordinary members)," revealed the outgoing captain.

"Our various golf meetings are well supported. It would be wrong of me to say that they are fully booked but the number of competitors entering each is healthy and fairly consistent."

In addition to Richardson's appointment, the AGM at Liberton also saw Broomieknowe's Caroline McIntosh take over as vice-captain, while Janet Wake (Merchants) has succeeded Margaret Rodgers as president.

A Turnhouse member, Rodgers had served for president for three years, having also done a stint as captain from 1996-98.

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She has also held various SLGA posts in the past, including chairman from 2005-07, and has been made an honorary member of the MCLGA in recognition of her work.