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Handicaps lowered all round

Within six years, 50,000 nine-year-olds a year will be introduced to golf through schools and clubs, Jack McConnell, First Minister and occasional golfer, said at the launch of the pound;500,000 a year Clubgolf programme.

As part of the build up to the Ryder Cup in 2014 at Gleneagles, the Scottish Executive is continuing its commitment to give every young Scot the chance to take part in the national game.

Other targets by 2009 include establishing 200 Clubgolf centres which can deliver teaching programmes and creating 20 new junior golf facilities and 40 affiliated facilities, such as driving ranges. Mr McConnell, backed by Colin Montgomerie, Scotland's top golfer, said the focus would be on girls and young people from more deprived backgrounds and those with a disability.

Talent-spotters will identify young players who can be fast-tracked into 12 golf schools or academies.

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