How Deeside are tackling the junior membership problem

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GB and I Curtis Cup-winning team captain and Deeside Golf Club member Elaine Farquharson-Black recently spoke about how the club is combating the recent downturn in membership from juniors.

Farquharson-Black, an Aberdeen solicitor who is the Deeside Golf Club’s junior convener, says the Bieldside club is managing to buck the North-east downward trend with a vibrant junior membership of boys and girls.

“We try to make it fun for all the boys and girls as Deeside recognises juniors’ importance,” said Elaine

“Clubgolf is meant to encourage players who are not members of a club.

“Hazlehead runs Clubgolf, but I am not sure about other clubs.

“Murcar Links is providing free junior membership as is Peterculter.

“A municipal club can’t do that as the town council charges for playing the course, so the council would need to reduce prices for juniors, but I can’t see that happening as there would be other sports arguing for free use of facilities.

“Peterhead have withdrawn from the Junior Pennant League this year as they can’t field a team, so it is a wider problem.

“Karyn Dallas, club professional at Kirriemuir GC, runs two-hole events for juniors to try it out. That might be an idea worth exploring.

“In terms of Deeside, the club is very welcoming of juniors, both at member level and by the staff.

“As junior convener, I sit on council representing the junior members so they are considered in all decision-making, recognising that the juniors will sustain the club going forward.

“We run junior competitions on Saturday afternoons.

“Those with handicaps of 18 or below play on the Haughton course off the same tees as the men/women for that day’s competition and their scores are included in the CSS for the day.

“On the Deeside GC Blairs course, the juniors can play nine or 18 holes, depending on their ability and theirstamina.

“I am generally there on a Saturday to see the juniors off and when they come in for something to eat at the end of their round.

“We run a Facebook and Twitter account for the juniors, posting pictures of what they have been up to.

“We try to make it fun; encouraging juniors of all abilities to enjoy the facilities.”