Murrayfield, which boasts one of the biggest junior sections in Scottish golf, welcomed European Tour star Richie Ramsay to the club to open a new short-game area.
“It’s been built at the end of our practice area as an extra facility for our members, with a particular focus for developing our junior section,” said the club’s pro-active PGA professional, Jonnie Cliff.
“It will allow us to deliver better quality in terms of lessons and it’s great that we are continuing to update the golf facilities at the club, which is very important.”
On getting Edinburgh-based Ramsay to do the honours and pass on a few tips to members, he added: “Richie is a generous guy and for him to come along here and open the new facility was great. To have one of Scotland’s top golfers, an inspirational guy to boot, here was brilliant.”
While a number of clubs around Scotland have seen junior sections suffer due to a reduction in the number of people playing golf, the opposite is the case at Murrayfield.
“We were one of the first clubs in Edinburgh to start a mini-junior section. It began eight or nine years ago and we have 70 seven to 11-year-olds,” said Cliff, who has been at the club for a decade, starting as assistant pro before stepping up to the top job eight years ago.
“Quite a number of other clubs, including Turnhouse, have taken on that idea since then and it’s been great for the club to have so many young golfers around.
“In the full junior section we’ve got 130, if not more. So to have around 200 juniors at the club is great as it creates a nice family atmosphere at Murrayfield. It’s a great club to be at.
“I’d have thought it must be one of the bigger junior sections in Scotland. In fact, I’ve not heard anything even close to that.
“A lot of that has come from the work we’ve done with the schools. In a bid to get people into golf, we’ve done a lot of coaching and making that available for juniors. We had sessions four days a week in the summer and it’s the same in the October and Easter holidays.
“We run loads of classes after school in term time, too. The membership numbers have come from us going out there and trying to encourage youngsters come along to try golf.
“The ones that enjoy it want to take it a bit further and I think the numbers reflect that quite a few of them have enjoyed it. That’s great for creating a family unit off the back of it.
“Dads are deciding to have a go and we also have a healthy ladies’ membership here so it’s great. It has had an interesting knock-on effect.”
Ali Thurlow, who finished tenth in this year’s Scottish Youths, has led the way in terms of young talent coming through at the club, followed by Andrew Ni.
“Our team got into the final of the Edinburgh Junior League this season so we have strength in depth in the junior section now,” said Cliff.