Scotland First Minister Alex Salmond looks on as children take part in The Big Chipping Challenge at a ClubGolf event at the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open

Coach Developers created to support volunteer coaches

Four Scottish PGA professionals have been charged with the exciting task of delivering invaluable help and advice to volunteers to assist in their delivery of the ClubGolf programme around the country.

In a jointly-funded project by ClubGolf and Ryder Cup Europe, these pros will support the development of volunteer coaches and ensure high-quality coaching is delivered in the early stages of the ClubGolf programme.
Allan Martin (Central, Tayside & Fife and Highlands & Islands), John Mulgrew (South West, West and Argyll & Dumbartonshire), Ryan Scott (East) and Keil Beveridge (Grampian) have been selected to support ClubGolf’s national coaching workforce within their respective areas over the next three years, building on the skills already acquired through PGA-delivered courses. 
The new Coach Developer role was identified after a coaching audit distributed among coaches throughout Scotland, including professionals and assistants, and conducted by the PGA.
The response from volunteer coaches highlighted the desire to develop skills and knowledge in a number of key areas in order to raise the bar in the quality of coaching delivered to young, aspiring golfers. 
The PGA’s Coach Education and Development Manager for Scotland, Heather Gaunt, explained why Coach Developers will be a useful addition to Scotland’s national junior programme. 
“To have four PGA Professionals providing support and guidance to the ClubGolf volunteer workforce is a massive step forward in helping us achieve the vision of Right Coach, Right Place, Right Time in Scotland,” she said.  
“Providing local, club based support was a clear message of need coming from volunteer coaches in the recently carried out Coaching Audit. Up until now, we were never able to provide such localised support to the volunteer coach workforce, which is required after they have completed their initial coaching qualification.  
“These four PGA Professionals have a wealth of experience, knowledge and skills, as they look to support volunteer coaches and help them deliver fun, engaging, player-centred sessions for children taking part in ClubGolf.  
“As a key partner in ClubGolf, The PGA is looking forward to supporting the new Coach Developers over the next few years and I wish them all the best in these exciting new roles.”   
Over the next three years, each Coach Developer will travel the length and breadth of his region, visiting clubs to offer support through a range of methods. 
Among their first tasks will be nurturing relationships with clubs and identifying the best means of support, in conjunction with its established ClubGolf set-up. 
This could range from assisting newly-qualified volunteers to establish ClubGolf at their club for the very first time or to simply offer guidance in the face of any issues that a club’s volunteer workforce could potentially face. 
Among the primary purposes of the role are supporting Level 1 volunteers through club-based ‘master classes’, helping newly qualified Level 1 Advanced coaches apply their knowledge and skills and supporting coaches in their transition from the UKCC Sports Coaching Level 1 Qualification to Level 2
To achieve this, Coach Developers will carry out eight regional and four full day events per year to promote continued professional development, visiting at least 38 clubs annually, and perform a full review of the current coaching resource for volunteers. 
Jackie Davidson, ClubGolf Manager, is excited by the prospect of providing further support to the programme’s volunteers around the country. 
She said: “These new roles will introduce a new level of support to our volunteer coaches, without whom the ClubGolf programme could not operate. We want to be able to increase the amount of hands-on advice and guidance to encourage coaches to continue to develop their skills and to re-energize the programme. The Coach Developers will go some way in helping us to achieve this objective.
“Without the support from Ryder Cup Europe we would not have been able to roll-out the programme to the same extent. ClubGolf has benefitted significantly from the legacy of The 2014 Ryder Cup and the programme will strengthen and grow again as a result of this additional investment.”
PGA Level III Coach Allan Martin, who has played an important role in the ClubGolf programme since its inception, explained how he believes his new position will benefit ClubGolf coaches within Central, Tayside & Fife and Highlands & Islands. 
He said: “The Coach Developer position will impact in several ways: to support and mentor coaches, to encourage passionate coaches to continue in their roles for a longer period, to educate volunteer coach based on their need and to better equip coaches giving quality coaching to junior golfers. 
“All of this, in turn, should produce better junior golfers and provide the opportunity for coaches to be monitored in their practical delivery, creating a driven and dynamic workforce nationally helping to coach more golfers.”
Although entering clubs from an external position, the role is in no way designed to take over from the work currently being done to promote junior golf at their respective clubs by PGA professionals. 
Indeed, Scott said that he is looking forward to working alongside fellow PGA pros to come up with any solutions that will improve a club’s coaching provision. 
He said:  "The role of Coach Developer has been created to provide additional support to Clubgolf Volunteer coaches as part of their development. We are particularly keen to work in conjunction with fellow PGA professionals and to directly involve and engage with PGA professionals within this process.
“Ultimately, our presence will assist in supporting and guiding volunteer coaches throughout their coaching journey, and we see the presence of the PGA professional as an extremely important part of the overall success of this at each Clubgolf delivery centre.
“For those clubs without a PGA professional, our presence will be aimed at providing coaches with an additional resource to use in the absence of the expert knowledge that would come from having a PGA professional stationed at each ClubGolf venue.”
Having provided crucial support that has allowed the role of Coach Developer to be created, Ryder Cup Director Richard Hills said: “We recognise the value of their work and the commitment volunteers make in supporting the game of golf as a whole. 
“The lasting legacy of The Ryder Cup does not only relate to the children who are progressing through the ClubGolf programme, but also to the creation of a workforce of quality volunteer coaches at clubs across Scotland. 
“On many occasions, volunteer coaches are the first point of contact for children looking to play the game and they may influence a child’s decision to remain involved with the game. 
“We are delighted that, through coach developers, we will be able to ensure they have the skills and knowledge they require to allow young people to draw the greatest benefit from the opportunities they are given through golf.”