Some of the biggest names in golf took time out from preparations on the eve of the Aberdeen Asset Management Scottish Open to join the First Minister and 400 children in a mass golfing challenge in Aberdeen.
Flamboyant American Ryder Cup player Rickie Fowler and Scots Stephen Gallacher, Russell Knox, Paul Lawrie, and Martin Laird were attending ClubGolf’s VIP Challenge, an annual competition organised by the national junior development programme.
The pros, First Minister, and executives from the PGA, European Tour and Ryder Cup braved the wind to try some of the golfing challenges at Murcar Links Golf Club, next door to Royal Aberdeen where the Scottish Open tees off today (Thursday 10).
For Fowler, joining the ClubGolf juniors was the perfect way to kick off the next two weeks. He said: “It’s cool to see and definitely cool to come over to Scotland and play the Scottish open and the Open championship next week. But to kick off, starting out with junior golf, I mean, I was in this position not too long ago. I’m not very old yet so it’s really cool to be able to come and hang out with kids.
“I’m surprised at how many kids are here. You’ve got a lot of room here and its pretty well filled with a bunch of junior players.”
Stephen Gallacher, a supporter of junior golf, said it was great to come to the event and see the work ClubGolf are doing. He said: “You’ve got to get the fun element in there and get them hooked. When you get them hooked you can start the process of developing them and getting them on the golf course. They’ve got to start somewhere and camps, camps like this, are brilliant for the golf.”
The VIP Challenge was attended by around 400 children, the majority of whom are attending week-long ClubGolf coaching camps in Grampian and the Highlands. The event and the camps are part of the ClubGolf Festival, funded by the Scottish Government.
Also attending the event were Sandy Jones, Chief Executive PGA ; George O’Grady, Chief Executive, European Tour; Martin Gilbert, Chief Executive, Aberdeen Asset Management; Richard Hills, European Ryder Cup Director; and Jackie Davidson, ClubGolf Manager. She said:
“It really adds to the fun and excitement for the children and the ClubGolf volunteers having the pros joining in, hitting a few balls and chatting away. It was a great start to the day which moved on our activity zone at the Scottish Open where the kids then got to meet Alastair Forsyth and Greig Hutcheon. We’re grateful to the players for taking the time to make the day really special for so many children.”