Future golf stars set to flock to East Lothian

Niko Salmi, aged nine, from Thailand at last year's tournament. Picture: Toby Williams
Niko Salmi, aged nine, from Thailand at last year's tournament. Picture: Toby Williams
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GOLF superstars of the future are set to flock to East Lothian this month to take part in one of the world’s most prestigious junior championships.

More than 600 boys and girls from all across the globe will take part in the 2016 US Kids Golf European Championship, held from May 31 to June 3 at Gullane No 3, Craigielaw, Longniddry, Luffness and The Glen.

Players from 50 nations – including Ukraine, Mauritius, Nigeria and UAE – will be represented, with the youngest competitor just five-years-old.

Dan Van Horn, president and founder of US Kids Golf, said: “We’re incredibly proud of how US Kids Golf has helped young golfers across the world not just stick with the game but develop their skills and love for the game.

“Playing with my family was the inspiration for starting the brand and US Kids Golf Foundation, so it’s fantastic to see parent caddies and family vacations still playing a huge part in our tournaments.

“It is hugely satisfying thing to see players from all over the world take so much joy from playing in Scotland and getting back to the roots of the game.

“The European Championship also provide a real opportunity for young girls and boys to meet new friends whilst perfecting their play and I have no doubt that some of the talent in Scotland will one day be teeing up to play at the Majors.”

The top finishers in each age category will compete in the European Van Horn Cup on June 3 – a showpiece event, modelled on the Ryder Cup, where the best European players are matched up against the top golfers from the rest of the world.

Tournament co-ordinator and Gullane Golf Club professional Alasdair Good said: “It’s always great having the European Championship here in East Lothian.

“Hosting a tournament with such a great reputation for producing top golfers is a real pleasure.

“The opportunity for spectators to see some the best developing talent in the world in action is quite special and I’d encourage people to come out and watch.”

A spokesman for the event said: “Now in its ninth year, the European Championship serves as an aspirational goal for junior golfers across the world thanks to the growth of US Kids Golf International Events and relationships maintained with tournament directors worldwide.

“As part of its burgeoning development in Europe, and to develop priority status to compete in the European Championship, US Kids Golf Foundation now run the British Kids Championship, Venice Open and two European Local Tours.

“Since holding its first tournament in 2000, US Kids Golf Foundation now runs some 1000 events each year including the prestigious World Championship at Pinehurst.

“The Foundation is the charitable branch of US Kids Golf. The firm has pioneered the development of golf clubs for young people, eliminating the problem of kids using heavier, cut-down adult clubs which often hurts developing swings and discourages budding players.”