Golf: Nicklaus presides over night of glory for Lothians

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GOLFING great Jack Nicklaus announced a Lothians whitewash in the RBS Junior Club and Volunteer Awards, presented at the glittering Scottish Golf Dinner in Glasgow.

Doing the honours through pre-recorded clips, the 18-time major winner first revealed that Dundas Park was the Club of the Year.

And the dream double was completed when Nicklaus then announced that Iain Holt from Turnhouse had won the Volunteer of the Year award.

Jim Cowper and Alistair Lawson were understandably delighted as they picked up the award for Dundas Park after the South Queensferry club pipped Dollar, Kemnay and Maybole.

But the ClubGolf officials in the audience were over the moon to see Holt earn a deserved reward for his efforts with the national junior initiative.

After all, he was the man who, in 2005, encouraged Turnhouse to become the first Edinburgh club to offer ClubGolf coaching.

And, under his leadership and ten hours plus a week commitment all year round, the club’s programme has flourished with 72 children attending six coaching sessions a week.

“I’m delighted to win this award which is a wee thank you for the efforts that I’ve put in, all done voluntarily but thoroughly enjoyed,” said the man known in the Edinburgh area as ‘Mr ClubGolf’.

“I enjoy seeing the kids coming into the game and enjoy seeing them improve. I just simply enjoy coaching, it’s as simple as that and I’ll keep going as long as I can.

“At Turnhouse we’ve got a good initial programme, a good introduction to the game and we want to get even more kids coming through into the playing stages within the club.

“The £500 awarded tonight will certainly be put to good use for the juniors.”

Dundas Park only started its junior programme in 2010, but has showed what can be achieved in a short space of time with the right people and a good plan.

From having less than 50 juniors, no girl members and dwindling funds, it has made a remarkable turnaround. Today it boasts six qualified volunteer coaches, is working hard in local primary and secondary schools, and has 30 children on its Stage 1 and 2 ClubGolf programmes, many of whom have become club members.

“To be shortlisted for this award was brilliant but to actually win it is the icing on the cake for a small club like us – this is absolutely fantastic,” said Cowper after collecting a £1000 prize for the club.