PE - A lot Ryding on this

27th March 2009 at 00:00

The clubgolf programme, aimed at introducing every nine-year-old in the country to the sport, will receive an extra Pounds 2.5 million in public funds between now and the 2014 Ryder Cup at Gleneagles.

The original commitment at its 2003 launch was for the then Scottish Executive to provide Pounds 500,000 a year until 2009. First Minister Alex Salmond said earlier this month that the funding was likely to continue indefinitely.

Although the programme has not yet reached its 2009 target of introducing every nine-year-old to golf, it is ahead of schedule in other areas. It had hoped to establish 200 clubgolf centres through golf clubs and facilities, but there are already 233 and the revised target for this year is 260.

Last year saw a 30 per cent increase in the number of children introduced to the game, compared to 2007. In 2008, 33,600 pupils in P5 - or 61 per cent of nine-year-olds in Scotland - took part in clubgolf's introductory game, firstclubgolf, while 8,563 were involved in clubgolf coaching.

Many more girls are playing golf as a result. Of the 33,600 children who played firstclubgolf in 2008, about half were girls. Between 2007 and 2008, the numbers of girls playing golf in clubs increased by 46 per cent. Some 2,130 of the 8,563 children on clubgolf coaching programmes were girls.

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